100 Austin Burgers: Dine
111 E. Cesar Chavez St. at the Radisson Austin, Austin (map), 512-478-2991, www.dineradissonaustin.com
Breakfast: 6:30-11am Mon-Fri; 7-11am Sat-Sun. Lunch: 11-2 Mon-Fri. Brunch: 11am-2pm Sun.
Dinner: 5-10pm Sun-Thu; 5-11 Fri-Sat. Happy hour 5-7pm Mon-Fri
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 03.09.16
Millions of dollars in renovations have transformed the Radisson Austin into a kind of corporate/boutique hybrid to keep pace with new competitors like the South Congress Hotel, the JW Marriott and the Hotel Van Zandt on Rainey Street. Part of that rebranding was bringing in chef Shawn Cirkiel (Parkside, Olive & June, Bullfight) to turn the old TGI Fridays space into an upscale Southwestern oyster bar called Chavez. Cirkiel bowed out last year, followed by a brief flirtation with star chef Josh Watkins. Now another Austin restaurant veteran, chef David Garrido, has rechristened the space as Dine, bringing his years at Jeffrey's and his former restaurant Garrido’s into play for a full hotel breakfast-lunch-dinner spread that includes oysters, creative appetizers, wood-grilled steaks and a half-price happy hour that includes a softball-size cheeseburger.
► Cheeseburger: The woodsmoke that curls around the Radisson at the entrance to the Lady Bird Lake trail lends its gravity to a thick slab of beef that cleaves together like a good, fatty bar steak. It’s draped in rich white cheese and finished with a slab of grilled onion, lettuce, tomato and a garlic-studded herb aioli. The bun is a bakery-style toasted roll with black sesame seeds that’s as tall as the beef for a burger that towers like a Town Lake condo over the plate. Whether full-price at lunch and brunch or half-price during the weekday happy hour, redevelopment never tasted so good. ($13 with fries; $6.50 at happy hour)
► On the side: This mix of true matchstick garlic fries and sweet potato fries is cut in-house, according to the server. Cooked in spotless oil, they’re hot and crisp and generously salted, as if in anticipation of the cocktail menu to come.
► Crispy oysters: Garrido’s signature at Jeffrey’s was a quartet of delicately fried oysters served on yuca chips. At Dine, he sauces them with a duo of spicy and herbal aiolis and a finish of pineapple pico. It’s a sensory tour of crispy, salty, tangy, spicy and sweet. There’s a reason it’s followed him around for so many years. ($9; $4.50 HH)
► Wash it down: The half-price happy hour at Dine means you can stroll through a few local drafts or a cocktail menu that includes a classic margarita, a lavender sloe gin fizz and half a dozen variants on the old-fashioned. El Cucumpeño brings together Ketel One Citroen vodka, fresh cucumber and jalapeño for a drink that’s refreshing and tart without the sugary smack of a margarita. ($11; $5.50 HH)
► Correction: An earlier version of this story said David Garrido had been at Fonda San Miguel. He was at Jeffrey's.
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(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)