100 Austin Burgers: Launderette
Lunch: 11am-2:30pm Mon-Fri
Dinner: 5-10pm Sun-Thu and 5-11pm Fri-Sat
Brunch: 11am-2:30pm Sat-Sun
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 07.07.16
Since my brunch report from Launderette in February, the restaurant inside this repurposed washateria has been named one of Food & Wine’s Best Restaurants. And now everything’s changed, man.... Not really. It’s still a laid-back diner with a crisp aqua and gray color scheme, a good bar and turbocharged food driven by chefs Rene Ortiz and Laura Sawicki, who’ve moved their two-person show from La Condesa and Sway to Fresa’s and to Launderette. Go ahead, get the duck Lyonnaise or green chile mussels or rabbit terrine. Or just drop in for a really good $9 cheeseburger.
► Plancha Burger: Lest we get carried away, understand that “plancha” is another word for the flat-top grill that spawned the great American hamburger in the first place. Launderette takes tradition in a new direction with pickles: pickled onions, a side of sweet and sour cucumbers cut razor thin and a tart burger sauce punctuated by more chopped pickles. It would be acidic overkill, except that it balances a beef patty defined as much by fat as lean, a bloom of lush excess powered by chopped bacon and a melted cloak of American cheese. But half of Launderette’s charm is Sawicki’s pastry sensibilities, which extend to a house-baked challah bun resting like a feathered cap over the whole fancy affair. With its pillow-top fluff and subdued sweetness, it’s one of Austin’s best hamburger buns. ($9)
► On the side: A bowl of fries runs $6 at Launderette, but the potatoes pack a handcut, skin-on splendor, fried tender-crisp with a side of bright, acidic chile manzano sauce and rich garlic aioli. ($6)
► Wash it down: I enjoyed the Aperol Sbagliato and watermelon mocktail from my brunch visit, but the Eastside Cup ($11) washes out like a weak Long Island iced tea, with gin, cider and Pimm’s fighting to a neutral draw. There’s a smart wine list and a generous craft beer menu as well, with Stumptown Coffee for a rounded diner experience.
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(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)