Launderette in Austin, Texas is a playful spot in the trendy East Side Holly neighborhood. The former gas station/laundromat with its hot pink neon sign out front is a nod to the once humble space now transformed into a relaxed restaurant with a retro vibe. An outdoor patio is a perfect perch to sip crafted cocktails while you wait for a table. Since there are no reservations at this chic haunt, take the time to peruse the quirky menu that fuses southern dishes with global flavors.
Location: Launderette is located at 2115 Holly Street Austin, Texas.
Menu: Starters, referred to as “Snacky Bits,”showcase the restaurant’s world cuisine concept. A few selections include beet hummus, potato chips, and pimento cheese, and pierogies with Aleppo oil. Entrees include wood-grilled entrees such as the whole Branzino with sliced almonds, preserved lemon, and herbs and the Plancha burger named by Thrillist as one of the top 100 burgers in the United States.
Thoughts: A step inside Launderette brings you back in time. The decor, reminiscent of “sixties mod” feels hip. The bright aqua painted floor, a long sleek bar with white bar stools and a kitschy sound-track playing in the background set the stage for a unique evening. The server was relaxed and laid back. After suggesting a few house cocktails, I picked the Margarita with Blanco tequila, Combier agave, and lime (when in Texas).
My partner and I decided to forgo the starters and went straight to the entree selections. He chose the pork ribs with black garlic BBQ sauce and sweet chili vinegar. The ribs, lacquered with the tasty sauce, had a hint of Thai flavor. Texas, known for barbeque, is entirely different at Launderette. The sauce is a take on traditional ingredients, and they were delicious.
I perused the vegetable section of the menu, and impressed with the variety of selections, chose the grilled broccolini with romesco, almonds, and lemon. For my entree, I selected the Brick Chicken with greens and sauce aligot.
The broccolini arrived, and we dug in without looking back. The smokey flavor, brightened by the lemon, tasted zingy. We found the dish addictive. The Brick Chicken was crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside. Even though southern chicken leans toward fried, the meal was stellar in term of flavor and crispiness. The sauce aligot was like a mashed potato fondue; it was cheesy goodness.
Finally, we saved room for dessert. Laura Sawicki is a three-time James Beard semifinalist for Outstanding Pastry Chef. We were told that the Birthday Cake Ice Cream Sandwich was THE plate to order. The suggestion was perfect as the creamy confetti ice cream, and the chewy cookie topping was sublime. I would come again just for this dessert. Everything about Launderette would entice me back.
Price Range: Snacky Bits range from $6 -16. Wood-grilled items from ribs to ribeye range from $20-42. Specialties run around $20, and vegetables are all around 9 dollars. Don’t skip dessert, priced around $10.