I spent the better part of the first week of 2008 trying to eat at Hill Country
with little success. The first time, after spending roughly two hours at the bar doing shots of bourbon, it was announced that the restaurant had run out of food
. As compensation, I believe one of the bartenders bought us a round, but like I said, I had been doing shots of bourbon for two hours… We ended up having to go across the street to Black Pearl
for some of the most abysmal tasting and overpriced food I have ever eaten. The raw clams on the seafood plateau were not terribly fresh and if given the choice between eating them again and eating a colleague’s pencil shavings, I would choose the latter.
The second time I tried to eat at Hill Country, just two days later, we arrived a little before 7:00 and were informed that the restaurant would be closing at 8:00 that evening for the staff holiday party. After careful consideration of the stakes, my friends and I decided that we should abort the mission and eat elsewhere. Though, before heading a few blocks north to K-Town for some consolation BBQ, we downed a couple of cocktails and a snack (the sort of snack many would consider dinner) of the following:
• 2 Kreuz sausages (one regular and one jalapeno)
• Moist brisket
• Pork ribs
• Market chicken
• Longhorn cheddar mac & cheese
• Smokey chipotle deviled eggs
With the exception of the deviled eggs, everything listed above was absolutely delicious and I couldn’t wait to eat more. This disappointed me, as I am a huge fan of deviled eggs and never thought I would see the day I encountered one that I did not love.
Later that week, SHR and I decided to try sneaking in an early dinner at Hill Country before the barbecue hungry masses devoured all of the food again. We cruised in around 6:30 and were seated immediately. Finally – SUCCESS. I quickly ordered a Kreuz margarita (garnished with cilantro – v. tasty) and then we headed up to the counter to order our much anticipated feast, which was comprised of this:
• 1 Kreuz sausage (regular) – Very complex flavor, in my opinion better than the jalapeno variety and I LOVE spicy food, so that is really saying something.
• 1/2 lb. of moist brisket – So fatty and succulent. Anyone who would opt for the “lean” variety clearly does not know how to live. Perhaps they will outlive all of their loved ones, but spending every moment wishing they had experienced more deliciousness.
• 2 pork ribs – No surprises here, very tasty.
• 1 bone-in pork chop – SHR and I both thought it would be more juicy because of the presence of the bone, but it was disappointingly dry. The good news is, it was still a pork chop, which is nice…
• 1 Beer can game hen – The first surprise hit of the meal. One of my friends feels that this dish sounds too gimmicky, but I paid him no mind and found it to be perfectly juicy and delicious.
• Small serving of green bean casserole with fried onions – Second surprise hit of the meal. Obviously, this dish is a classic, but Hill Country’s preparation was especially tasty. The fried onions atop the mushroom soupy green beans were flavorful and resilient, never losing their crispiness.
• Small serving of longhorn cheddar mac & cheese – This side was almost as amazing as the first. One of my friends took a cooking class with Elizabeth Karmel, the executive chef, and asked her for the recipe. Not surprisingly, Ms. Karmel would not give up the goods.
For my second drink I had a Hill Country Cooler, which is made of Tang and I have no idea what else, and SHR had just about the biggest Arnold Palmer I have ever seen, served in an enormous Mason jar. Suffice it to say, the feast was well worth the wait. We even got 15% off of our bill (on my last failed visit, the hostess felt awful and gave us 15% off cards) AND I ran into a friend and gave him some golf balls and tees that I had in my purse. Here are some pictures SHR took of our visit to Hill Country:
Random pre-carnage table shot:
What everyone has been waiting for - the meat money shot:
Labels: barbeque, first taste, manhattan, pork