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Jack Allen’s Kitchen

Austin, Texas, USA
Farm to Fork
Dined in March 2015



Texas, heartland of America, home to Cowboys, Indians, Mexican Bandits, and former Republican and Democrat Presidents. The Capital City of Austin, named after the patriot of the Texas Revolution, is not only home to one of the most fantastic Capital buildings I have ever seen, but also to a food scene that I did not anticipate, but was greatly pleased to see. Two of the top listed restaurants in the United States are in Austin, and if you ever saw the film Chef, the story has them driving their food truck into Austin and enjoying some favorites before moving on to California.  With that wonderful cuisine, Jack Allen’s Kitchen was no exception to the rule, with three locations, I’m very glad that while visiting my girlfriend introduced me to them.   


Scroll down to read the main review


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Star ratings chart:
5 stars
Extraordinary  
4 stars Outstanding  
3 stars Exceeded expectations     
2 stars Above average                          
1 star Average
No star rating Basic, poor, or appalling 

Review basics:
Overall Star rating by Wine, Dine, & Play:
4 of 5
Quality of food:
8 of 10
Presentation:
7 of 10
Wine selections by region:


Scroll below the main review section to see the tasting notes of the wines chosen.


5 of 10
Old world: 
France
A). Loire: (Sancerre, & Saumur, Vouvray, & Chinon). 
B). Other: Champagne
Italy: Abruzzo
Portugal: Douro
New World: 
Argentina: Mendoza
New Zealand
A). Marlborough: (Wairau Valley, Awetere Valley, Waihopi Valley)
California: Sonoma, Napa, Carneros, Paso Robles, Russian River Valley, Alexander Valley, Central Coast, Santa Maria Valley, Santa Lucia Highlands,
Oregon: Willamette Valley
Washington State: Columbia Valley
Texas: Texas High Plains, Texas Hill Country, Fredericksburg, Escondido Valley, Texas Davis Mountains, Mesilla Valley


   “Explore the restaurant wine list

Customer service:
10 of 10
Ambiance:
6 of 10
Corkage fee’s:
American Restaurant standard is $25.00 per bottle
Restaurant style:
Casual
Dress code:
Casual or Conservative attire
Reservations:
Not Required
Walk-in:
Accepted but not guaranteed
Child policy:


The Restaurants reviewed on this site may have a child’s menu or cater to them; however for full enjoyment of food and wine, it is recommended for children not to be in attendance, unless they have been trained in proper etiquette. Hire a Babysitter. See Alinea Baby Gate, god I love Alinea.
Cuisine style:
Contemporary, Bistro, Modern, American, Southern, Organic, Tex-Mex, & Vegetarian
Music styles:
Background instrumental
Experiences:
Place for foodies, Business parties, Romantic, Hot spot, Great bar, Great outdoor dining, Good for special occasions, Rustic, Trendsetting, and a Neighborhood gem.
Gratuities:
No gratuities are added
Payments:
Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express
Parking:
Public Parking and Valet
Transport options:
Bus, taxi, limousine, personal vehicle, and walking
Wifi
The restaurants reviewed on this site may have Wi-Fi, but do not require you to go online, because the excitement of the food and wine alone will keep you too entertained instead of checking your social media and emails.
Noise level:
Medium
Smoking:
Nonsmoking restaurant, and nonsmoking patio
Patio:
Yes

Chef:
Jack Gilmore
Rogelio Lujano
Picture of Jack Gilmore Courtesy of Starchefs.com














Food price per person 
(Excluding tax & gratuity)


Price chart:
$£€¥ -               Under 50.00 
$£€¥ x 2 -          Under 75.00 
$£€¥ x 3 -          Over 100.00 
$£€¥ x 4 -          Over 200.00 
$£€¥ x 5 -          Over 400.00 

**Currencies chosen reflect the world’s major travelers and restaurant connoisseur’s**

My food bill:
Currency:
Price chart:
$79.00
United States Dollar (USD)
$$
£51.00
Great Britain Pound Sterling (GBP)
££
€88.00
European Union (EUR)
€€
$98.00
Canadian Dollar (CAN)
$$
$102.00
Australian Dollar (AUS)
$$$
¥487.00
Chinese Yuan (CNY)  
¥¥¥¥¥
To get up to date currency rates:







Scroll down below the main review to see cost of wines and tasting notes.




From restaurants home page:

Local in source, Texan in Spirit not only in the kitchen, but in the community, is what Jack Allen’s Kitchen is all about. Executive chef and owner Jack Gilmore, along with partner Tom Kamm set out to provide Central Texas with fresh, locally sourced food that puts smiles on faces while simultaneously giving back to those who need it most.


Main review:

Happy hour, or an extended one at that is something that I had never really taken advantage of in most places that I traveled or lived. I am very traditional having the three squares a day, but at the same time am open to just about anything, especially when it comes to food. My girlfriend has lived in Austin for nearly a decade and used to work with the restaurants as a wine representative, so she got to know all the in’s and outs, knowing which places to go, and which to avoid. Like her, I enjoy the restaurants that are privately owned with local featured cuisine and talent versus the big name corporate restaurants that are everywhere. 

We arrived around 4pm, the restaurant one of three that Jack Allen’s operates known as Oak Hill,  had a very large open dining room and kitchen with bar to the right as you entered. Being that it was a very nice spring day, we sat in their patio, an enclosed ceiling patio with its own bar, over twenty tables, and a brick fireplace at one end facing the parking lot, with Williamson Creek and a small grouping of trees to the opposite side.  Above the fireplace was a sign for Highway 71, the main thoroughfare outside the restaurant. 




















My girlfriend enjoys Rosé wine, so from their wine list she had a Washington State  wine from Charles & Charles Winery Part of the Trinchero Family Estate of wines (Scroll down below the main review to see wine tasting notes). I honestly can’t remember what I had drink, but I think it was a beer. Our server, a lady named Misty was extremely professional and well knowledge with the menu, restaurant, and Austin in general. My girlfriend was quite taken by her, and they enjoyed many conversations during our visit. Above I rated their wine list as a 5 of 10. They have a unique and semi diverse collection of american wines, to include several from the different AVA’s around Texas, this being the first restaurant I had ever been to that offered wine from Texas. Being that we were in Texas, it seemed just right. However the mid range rating comes from the lack of world wines offered, which I find in several places that I visit. While in Australia, France, Italy, Germany, and south Africa 90% of the restaurants focused on their local wines, while ignoring American or other world wines. The only exception to that rule would be if they were fine dining, and the clientele demanded a broader palliate selection. I don’t look at this middle rating as a negative to Jack aAllen’s because the experience was fantastic, but instead to put into perspective that wine lists in many places could be better and more diverse worldly. 

Being happy hour, this was the perfect time to enjoy several appetizers from the menu, though their menu of course had a the normal selections of salads and entree’s. Their appetizer section was much larger than most restaurant I have seen in the past, and that is most likely due to how popular happy hour is in Austin.  Our first appetizer was a southern classic that I had grown up on, pimento cheese dip with flatbread crackers. Very flavorful, with the right consistency of cream cheese to cheddar, making it very enjoyable. 




















The second dish which I believe was my favorite of the night was smoked beef rib quesadillas, with pepper jack cheese, sautéed onions, bell peppers, topped with a nice a semi spicy slaw called JAK’s Slaw. Every bite I took into those quesadillas was truly heavenly, and I would not be ashamed to say that in the future I would attempt to copy this dish and use it for parties and social gatherings. 




















The third dish of enjoyment to match the next round of drinks was a spinach and gorgonzola cheese dip, with enough garlic to send my heart racing for more after each bite. The dish was served with four pieces of grilled ciabatta bread. 




















The final dish of the happy hour adventure was a bacon wrapped Texas quail dish with six small quail legs, a jalapeño jam and peach jam, over a micro green fig salad. Absolutely delightful, that was a close tie with the quesadillas as my favorite dish. By the time that course was complete we had no room for dessert, and our little happy hour excursion turned up as being a complete filling meal, and we were able to skip out on a dinner meal that evening. As we left my girlfriend spoke with the management about how good the service that Misty provided. I normally always leave a 20-25% gratuity unless the service is just really bad, but I felt she deserved well over the 25% threshold, so around 50% was about right.  













































This Restaurant reminds me of:

Exceptional way to start off the Austin food adventure, and Jack Allen’s will be a place I return to again when my girlfriend and I go back to Austin to visit friends. Chef Rogelio Lujano put together a fantastic menu to be proud of, and a great introduction to Texas cuisine. I would compare the experience at Jack Allen’s to Hank’s Seafood, in Charleston, South Carolina and another personal favorite with local farm to table cuisine in Orlando, Florida called Prato.

Other Austin favorites:
Benji’s Cantina
Texas Chili Parlor
Home Slice Pizza
Güero's Taco Bar 
Perla’s Seafood and Oyster Bar
Qui Restaurant


Other trending story’s on Wine, Dine, and Play:
The Dining Room at Biltmore Estate, Asheville, North Carolina
Le Sel @ The Cradle, Lanseria, South Africa


Cost of wines and other alcoholic beverages in $$ USD:
$14.00




Tasting Notes:

Wine & Grape:
Nose (Bouquet):
Palette Experience:
Syrah (72%), Mourvedre (8%), Cabernet Sauvignon (8%), Grenache (6%), Cinsault (3%), Counoise (3%)

The color is vibrant pink, salmon and fuchsia edges. More than ever, the wild red fruit of strawberry, raspberry and Bing cherry are interwoven with Herbs de Provence and grass, a touch of citrus and an even greater presence of minerality. 
Wine Regulatory: 
Vin de Table, France
COWA: The Central Otago Winegrowers Association, New Zealand



Restaurant address:
Oak Hill
7720 Highway 71 West 
Austin, TX 78735 






















Neighborhood:
Oak Hill

Cross streets:
 Hill Meadow Drive & Silvermine Drive

GPS Coordinates

Latitude: 30.243563
Longetude: -97.882623


Contact Information: 


Maître d, Reservations:
+1 512 852 8558
Restaurant Website:
Email:
Online Reservations :
see website
Social Media:


Facebook Link                

Hours:

Sunday Brunch: 
Daily: 10:00 am -2:00 pm 

Happy Hour: Mon-Fri: 3:00 pm -7:00 pm 

Dinner:

  
Monday
11:00 am–10:00 pm
Tuesday
11:00 am–10:00 pm
Wednesday
11:00 am–10:00 pm
Thursday
11:00 am–10:00 pm
Friday
11:00 am–10:30 pm
Saturday
11:00 am–10:30 pm
Sunday
11:00 am–10:00 pm

Central Standard Time (GMT-6:00)



Proprietor / Manager:
Tom Kamm
Shannon Kelly Sheffield































Review by:
Chef Sean Overpeck (CFE)


















Chef Sean cooks for soldiers in Afghanistan, 2012:














































"Culinary perfection consists not in doing extraordinary things, but in doing ordinary things extraordinarily well."






TTFN

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