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“Hill Country”

  Occasion: Cuisine: Area: Cost: Rating:
  Night Out Barbecue Flatiron Moderate Great

Dining at Hill Country may not be what you expect. If you expect it to be great, it will be, but if you expect it to be conventional sit down restaurant, you’ll be surprised. Instead, you’ll find a cafeteria style restaurant modeled on Kreuz Market—the famed meat-market/barbecue-joint in Lockhart, Texas, where folks line up to pick out their meat by the pound, and then line up again for sides. It works the same way here in the city.

Your meats are cut and weighed on butcher scales to your specifications. You like your prime rib cut thick, they’ll cut it thick. You like the long side of the rack of ribs, you got it. You just want a little of this and a little of that, no worries. This is a wish is your command kind of place. Once your meat is weighed out, it’s bundled up with white bread, pickled and onions in butcher paper, ready to be transported to your table where you can have your way with it.

That’s pretty much how it went the other night when Craig and I gathered about ten friends for a Texas-style barbecue at Hill Country. We could smell the meat smoking out on the street. It’s sort of lusty and distinct—the barbecue equivalent of fresh cut grass in the summer. It draws you inside like a Genie into the belly of the bottle.

Once beyond the doors, you’ll quickly realize you’re not in Kansas anymore. First, you’ll be greeted by a super-happy, über-friendly hostess. I don’t know where they find such happy people. Maybe they are taking seconds from the staff at Trader Joe’s? (Those people must be hand-fed crack before every shift. They’re always smiling.) Anyway, you’ll get a down-home welcome from a host who’ll take your name and offer you a spot at the bar, where I recommend you have a Lonestar or a Kreuz Market margarita—a spectacular tequila experience that marries vodka with agave, fresh lime and cointreau ($8).

While you pass the time, waiting for the central pit/feeding area to clear out a bit, you’ll probably hear some great live Austin music (it’s free) playing in the downstairs roadhouse. You’ll smile. You’ll feel remarkably happy and friendly, too. You’ll probably talk to someone you don’t know at the bar, and it won’t seem that strange. They’ll answer you in a warm and open manner, and you’ll engag ... [more, click below]

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Other restaurants in Flatiron :
+ Suenos   + Amuse-- Closed   + Dos Caminos   + Lucy-- Closed   + Gramercy Taver   + Veritas   + Fleur De Sel   + Bolo -- CLosed   + City Bakery   + Shake Shack   + Kalustyan's Cafe   + Devi   + BLT Fish   + Sugarcane   + BLT Prime   + Barca 18-- CLOSED   + Beppe   + Barbounia   + Boqueria   + Eleven Madison   + Lonesome Dove-- CLOSED   + Hill Country   + Olana   + Wildwood   + Primehouse   + Allegretti   + Bar Breton   + Aldea   + SD26 by Bao Ong   + ABC Kitchen   + Ciano   + The NoMad   

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