While in Austin Texas a couple weeks ago, I made it a plan to stop into the Vegan restaurant Counter Culture. The restaurant is located just east of down town at 2337 E Cesar Chavez St Austin, TX 78702 If you are looking for James Beard award-winning fine dining, this is not your place. But if you want down home comfort food that will knock your socks off (and your cowboy boots), this place is for you. (The food looked much better in person than in the pictures below, lighting for pictures was not the best for my camera phone)
The restaurant is in an old brick building, the owner has done a nice job of creating a comfortable diner restaurant feel with an option of eating outside on the patio if you like.
We were greeted immediately upon entrance by a very pleasant young lady. All the staff there are friendly and make you feel at home. Up front they have the daily specials nicely scribed on a chalkboard. They also have a board that continually thanks the customers.
All their food I was told is made from scratch. They even make their own faux meats and all their own sauces and dips, even the ketchup. Also, most of their desserts are sweetened with dates, not sugar.
Their menu is a comfort food extravaganza as it would be in any diner. Also, every item on the menu if applicable, is marked with a designator indicating a special dietary needs category. An (R) means it is at least 95% Raw. A (GF) indicates it is gluten free. A (SF) means it is soy free and a (E2) indicates it is Engine 2 diet friendly. This makes eating here on a special diet easy.
The first day I visited. (Yes, it was so good I came back for breakfast the next day.) I ordered the Philly Seitan Sandwich with a side of Curry Quinoa Salad. The bread was soft and fresh, the cheeze sauce was warm and had a nice cheesy flavor everything on this plate was great.
Philly Seitan Sandwich with a side of Curry Quinoa Salad (You get your choice of one side)
My companion ordered the Mac & Cheeze. I was told it was their best seller on the menu and one day I was there they sold out of it. It was also cheesy and had a great flavor. It was topped with a bread crumb topping. I was told by my companion that it was one of the best vegan Mac & Cheeses she had ever eaten. My other companion ordered the Sausage Sauerkraut Sandwich. She was also very very happy with her meal. The sausage is made in-house.
Mac & Cheeze with a Ceaser salad and potato salad (You get your choice of two sides)
Sausage Sauerkraut Sandwich with a Ceasar salad. (Your choice of one side)
We ended that day’s lunch with desert. I had the Brownie Sundae. it was out of this world good. The brownie was soft but not too soft. I am not a big sweets fan and the brownie was not real sickening sweet like brownies can be. I believe that this is because they use dates to sweeten their desserts, it was outstanding. We also had their Coconut Cream Pie, OMG another home run!
Coconut Cream Pie
The next morning we arrived just before they opened to try their breakfast/brunch. We enjoyed a nice conversation with a local gentleman that was waiting to pick up his pre-ordered Christmas Dinner.
We ordered the East Side Quesadilla, Breakfast Burrito, and Seasonal Omelet.We also ordered two sides just so we could taste. A side of potatoes and one Egg Nog pancake.
East Side Quesadilla and Roasted Potatoes with homemade ketchup
Breakfast Burrito and Orange, Kale and Ginger juice.
The Seasonal Omelet and Egg Nog Pancake with Cranberry Drizzle
All the food we had was outstanding!
The flavors were right on and presented well. The fruit was fresh and full of flavor. The breakfast burrito was huge and just as big on taste.
I was told by my companion that the Quesadilla was the best breakfast she had ever eaten, including non-vegan breakfast.
The omelet was light and fluffy full of fresh vegetables. Everything was so good that there was talk about driving up from San Antonio where we were staying later in the week just to get some more of the Counter Culture fare.
In a state that is known for and runs on Texas BBQ, Counter Culture is a breath of fresh air and a mouth of fresh food.
If you are ever in Austin Texas and in need of some good old Vegan comfort food then Counter Culture is a must eat at destination.