Sunday, April 29, 2012

Lucy's Fried Chicken in Austin, TX - Lunch with friends

On our way back to San Antonio, we decided to have lunch with our friends from Tomatoes to Tomatillos; Cornstalks to Queso in Austin.  We called them up and they suggested meeting at Lucy's Fried Chicken.

2218 College Ave
AustinTX 78704
M-F, Sun - 11 - midnight
Sat - 11 - 1AM

Parking: very few spaces
Noise Level: Loud Music, hard to converse inside.
Outdoor seating: Plenty, with fans to keep you cool
Inside atmosphere: Small, limited tables, ecclectic industrial look to the decor.

Review: MIXED.  I would give it 3/5 Stars.

She said: TomTom told us to look for the neon sign of a girl with chicken, and the restaurant was fairly easy to find.  Warning - there is a fair amount of road construction in the area, give yourself more time than normal to get there.  The parking lot was tiny and crowded, but we lucked out and someone was pulling away as we drove up. 

The outside was intriguing and unusual architecture, looks like a fun place.  

Inside: LOUD - What I can't hear you....

The service - was excellent - the waiter was very pleasant and attentive, made sure to correct any issues and kept our drinks full.  We liked him.

The food - Mixed.  Thomas and goggles got the fried deviled eggs and were kind of "meh" about them.  I shared the fried chicken livers and thought they were rather tasty.  Not the best I have had, but very tasty.  Goggles thought they were dry.

When TomTom and her husband arrived, they couldn't decide on gizzards or livers, so the waiter offered to get them a basket half and half, which was immediately dubbed "lizzards" and saved the day.  I like that they are flexible about their menu.

For dinner Thomas Goggles and I split a basket of fried chicken.  It came with pickles (YAY) and jalapenos (BOO) on top, which was weird, but whatever, I just grabbed my chicken from the bottom.  We also ordered the Mexican Coke Sweet Potatoes and the grilled corn.  

The sweet potatoes were tasty.  I like mine to either be more sweet  or more savory, and these were in the middle.  But the overall flavor balance was good.  The chicken was very tasty and crispy, but slightly greasy - I used a lot of napkins.  There was a good spice to the batter, not spicy per se, but well seasoned. The corn was completely disappointing.  In my opinion, corn is sweet, and if its flavor profile has been drastically altered in the cooking, they should probably have mentioned it on the menu.  They prepare their corn by boiling it in crawfish boil, then grilling it - so I bit into it and was like "oh holy hell what the frag is wrong with this corn did they spray it with mace?" because I don't handle spicy well, especially surprise spicy on food that is supposed to be sweet.  Thomas couldn't eat it because it tasted like it had been grilled with beef. 
Now the corn had a good texture, don't get me wrong, and it would probably rock if you like crawfish boil spices.  

The waiter handled the situation well.
We got dessert: I had the shoofly pie, goggles had the apple pie and TomTom ordered the sweet tea pie.  Thomas didn't want dessert, but he tried all of ours.  All of the pies were pretty good.  The shoefly pie was rich with molasses, the apple pie had a good crust and the sweet tea pie was...interesting.  Light and airy and sweet with tea and lemon.  I highly recommend the pie.

Thomas trying to decide what he thinks of the Sweet Tea Pie.
Over all, I feel that the food is a bit overpriced, and that the menu fails to describe some of the flavors.  It was noisy, so don't choose it for a night where you want to talk a lot.  Plan to park elsewhere and walk because the lot is small.  The pies are amazing and the chicken is pretty good.  The service is incredible, and they have an interesting selection of specials on the chalk board. 

He Said:

On our way home from Waco, as we were passing through Georgetown, we called TomTom asking where a quick/good/cheap place to eat near the 35 corridor was. After her and Val talked a bit we decided to meet at Lucy's. I'd never heard of it but the directions had it close enough for a quick in and out so, sure let's meet them there.

One of the problems of traveling to places that are mass transit oriented, like Austin is, is some places have very inadequate parking. And if they are popular it makes it problematic finding a place to park that won't end up with a large fine and towing. This is the case here. Be willing to park and walk or be a Parking Buzzard.   We lucked out that just as we were pulling in, a minivan being poorly driven was trying to get out and the Yukon behind us was impatient for me to get out of the way so they could swoop in and ended up backing up and running off while exclaiming profusely (glad I can't read lips). So, the shotgun parking lot is really in full effect here.

Once parked I was able to take in the decor. Pallets used as exterior decorating/shielding of a stairwell and an otherwise pretty nondescript building. Look for the Big Neon Sign that is all retro-pin up of a girl giving you chicken on a side street off of So. Congress and Oltorf. They had open air seating with plenty of tables, but Val and TomTom are from the Great White North and we decided that air conditioning would make it more enjoyable.

The first thing I noticed was the volume of the music. I thought it was loud on the outside because of all the seating out there so it could be heard, but inside it was even louder. Goggles, Val, and I had to lean close and talk like people in a nightclub. Second thing I noticed was the decor felt like someone wanted the Old Austin Weirdness so very badly that they just bought some random stuff and forced it to work together. Although the Wall-O-Chalkboard for the specials menu was a great touch that was actually kinda cool. Old metal drafting chairs and work stools were the seating inside and it looked like retro-70's plastic contour chairs outside.

As soon as we were in the door, the waitstaff was very courteous and helpful. We were seated, had menus, and drinks ordered in very short order. There was no pressure to order as we waited for TomTom and her Husband to show up and when we did order some appetizers they came out quick and hot. Our waiter was apologetic about the grilled corn (more on that later) and took very good care of us.

Lucy's has a very simple menu, That revolves around stuff fried or grilled, a handful of sides, and several appetizers. This could be a good place to grab a bite for those "headed home from the club" munchies.

Goggles and I tried the deep fried deviled eggs an appetizer and we all split an order of chicken livers. The deviled eggs were intriguing but not as interesting as we had hoped. Although the spicy sauce for them was very good. The livers on the other hand were great. Large, moist, livers with a thick crunchy batter with a little seasoning on them in a wire basket. They were made of much yum.

We decided on a bucket of chicken with sides of grilled corn and Mexican Coke (made with real cane sugar) sweet potatoes. The chicken came out in a galvanized bucket that was lined with wax paper with a stack of pickles (boo) and Jalapenos (yay) on top. There was a good mix of light and dark meat. The batter on the chicken was the same as on everything else but was very nice since the chicken was marinated in tastiness and very moist. The sweet potatoes were good. They had a well rounded flavor but nothing to really stand out. In retrospect, adding a quick shake from the salt shaker would have made them a bit better. They just needed something to round out the palate. The grilled corn was a mistake. I love spicy food. I eat Thai peppers straight off of my bushes here at the house. What had been done to this corn was an abomination. Come to find out they are boiled in crab boil before being grilled. One bite and I was done. You couldn't taste any sweetness from the corn and there were meaty flavors that my brain equated with beef ( I have a horrible allergy to beef that makes me react for about 2 weeks and want to shoot myself from the painful disgusting things it does to my body). So, I didn't even bothering asking what else it was grilled with to try and soldier on and try the corn beyond the single bite I had. The sad part is the menu just listed it as grilled corn. You should at least mark that is spicy. I can imagine some poor kid trying to tell his parents the corn is hot the resulting scene if they don't try it themselves.

The desserts were... different. Goggles got the apple pie, Val the Shoofly pie, and TomTom the Sweet Tea pie. The apple pie was good, in a "good apple pie" sort of way. I like mine better. The Shoofly pie was tasty, but a little too heavy on the molasses. The Sweet Tea Pie... I'm still not sure. it had a great texture for a chess pie. It was sweet and lemony. Just, my brain couldn't reconcile the pie texture with tea flavor. I will have to try it again to see if I can process better next time.

So, a wrap up: Lucy's Chicken. Bring ear plugs. Bring a pillow for the seats if you are sitting inside. Order the livers and gizzards (TomTom got them and said the gizzards were great), Get a bucket of chicken and plan on leftovers for a couple days (cold fried chicken is a staple of Southern Cuisine), Avoid the grilled corn unless you feel you need to do penance for something, and prepare for some original desserts. AND try to ignore the forced funkiness. On the PLUS SIDE: I overheard the waiter say that they ONLY serve TEXAS beers. That will bring me back for more.

For yet another opinion, feel free to check out our friend's review
Lucy's Fried Chicken on Urbanspoon

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