Austin >Food & Dining > Trudy's Restaurant & Bar
8820 Burnet Rd, Austin, TX | Directions 7875730.372116 -97.726672
Neighborhoods: North Shoal Creek
Trudy's 4 Star Dripping Springs...A fancy bldg isn't enough – Hmmm... yes, we also tried out the new D.S. Trudy's tonight, and found ourselves wondering just how many other Austin-area mexican joints the 5-star reviewers have frequented.
We certainly understood that this was a shakedown time at the new Trudy's, as official opening is not until Nov 1, so we tried to be kind to the overworked servers who were still trying to get their mojo together.
Nevertheless, we've tried several other Trudy's locations and found each to consistently fall into the "mediocre" rating scale for Mexican food. Perhaps if this were in Hawaii, or Washington State, the fare would be considered good, but not in Austin where outstanding Mexican Food is available on virtually every corner (including the 5 other spots I can think of along Hwy 290 West of Oak Hill).
Sad to say, we were not surprised to experience similar, less-than-spectacular results this evening...
I figure the first area to judge an Austin-area Mexican restaurant is the chips and salsa, and in that category Trudy's came up sadly lacking... very clearly plastic-bagged chips, not particularly warm, and too salty, with lackluster salsa to go along. (Not to mention the fact they want to nick you 6 bucks for a basket of tepid chips)... Oh, or you could also spring another $6 for the "salsa sampler"... Are you kidding me?
We were told in the invitation that there were big "specials" on drinks during the grand opening(s).. but when we went to order our margarita, we learned that the "specials" only applied to the sweet-and-sour tourist swill that only the uninitiated would call a margarita. You want a real margarita? (tequila, triple sec, and lime juice.. what else?) Those are not discounted, and start at $9.00 "and up". The "special" price for a Shiner's was $4.00 woo-woo! Nevertheless, a sucker is born every minute, and we sprung for the $9.00 versions, which arrived at the table in those tiny little 3" high glasses, and then only 2/3 full at best.
Now let's examine the decor. What with construction taking well over a year, I guess we expected something special inside. Instead, what we found was, well, just Big... a huge cavernous room with hospital-style suspended ceiling, painted in a brain-numbing school-cafeteria institutional light green... just not really visually inviting, but I guess everyone has their own taste.
On to the food...two members of our group ordered the tortilla soup, and in both cases the smallish bowl arrived at the table just lukewarm at best (forgiveable, I suppose,while the wait staff gets their act together), but worse, the soup consisted of merely a thin broth with one sad thin slice of avocado floated on top (UNFORGIVABLE).
Perhaps my criticism wouldn't be so harsh if we hadn't just dined the previous evening at Domingo's Mexican Grill just down the street.
There we had, the hugest, most delicious tortilla soup, crammed full of chicken, cheese, potatoes, carrots, etc, accompanied by FREE home made, delicious chips, killer salsa in 3 varieties, and home made flour tortillas. Of course, Domingo's can't compete with a giant like Trudy's light green walls, and instead provides a warm, inviting, real Mexico-style decor. Top that off with huge margaritas, using tequila, agave, triple sec and lime juice (ONLY... no syrupy mixer), all for the astounding price of just $5.99 each.
Bottom line, my wife and I had a near-perfect dinner at Domingo's with all the trimmings for about $35 including multiple drinks, compared with our bill at Trudy's for appetizers-only (supposedly 50% off) with a couple of $9 margaritas each, and we wound up with a $55 tab plus tip.
We love to eat out, and always welcome a new venue in town, and had the highest hopes for Trudy's. After our experience tonight, it will be a long time before we return... we're heading back to Domingo's!
food was awesome and the staff was very nice we went a little early on sat to avoid the crowd. the queso was very good. Although i love spicy food the salsa was super hot this time but the margaritas were on special for 4.50 no bad for a sat.
Buffet barf – Lately for whatever reason Trudys hasdecided to only offer the buffet during lunch hours and appetizers between lunch and what they decide are dinner hours. The buffet is over priced and luke warm,not good at all. I do love a good taco salad or quesadilla for dinner though,... hope they don't get rid of those anytime soon.
Go for the drinks, stay for the sexual harrassment – I visit the North Star location at least once a week, and most times twice a week. I have had the problems with wait time for seating and food, and the two Mexican martini limit is enforced by humiliation, but I love the stuffed avocado and Mex marts. I cannot help it. However, the other day was my last trip to this restaurant ever in my life.
Let me preface this with the fact that our waitress was awesome and very nice, but apparently, she was not taken seriously by her own manager. We were seated at a table that was literally a few feet from another table filled with rowdy people that only had alcohol in front of them. This was around 8 PM too on a weeknight, so there was definitely a good mix of people. The guys at the table began whistling at and yelling at our waitress for service while she was trying to take our drink order. When she walked to the table to help them, they said they wanted to take her home and f%$k her, and you could tell she was so embarrassed. She walked away to tell her manager, but the table was not kicked out. This was enough for the table next to us to go ahead and leave mid-meal.
After listening to this table go on for another 20 minutes screaming about butt holes, hymens, or anything else in they could come up with that was disgusting to hear while trying to eat, one of them literally sneezed on the back of my husband. I was ready to walk out at this point, but my husband talked to the manager. She made him wait about 10 min in the middle of our meal to speak with her, and then told my husband that she would take care of it. She came over to US about 10 min after that, and when she heard the table screaming about Nazis, I guess that is when she thought maybe they had enough to drink. These guys made a small fuss (I imagine that is not the first time they have been thrown out of a public place) and left.
20 minutes after this, the manager came to tell us she was sorry about that table. Her excuse was, "Well, they were here the past few nights for a going away party, and I did not hear what exactly was being said." Basically, she inferred that they were a high dollar table and for that, they could say whatever they wanted in a public setting where other people are paying to eat.
The waitress came up to us afterward and thanked us for saying something. She said that when she told her manager initially, the female manager told her it was a $200 table. The waitress was just trying to be nice to them to get her tip, which I don't blame her for one bit. What I do blame the manager for is allowing these male patrons to openly sexually harass a waitress and not do anything about it because they were spending a lot of money on alcohol. And then to be addressed about the situation by a regular patron and do NOTHING about it for 20-30 minutes is unacceptable.
Also, if they are so strict on the 2 Mex mart limit, then why on earth would they serve margarita after margarita to these people when they were clearly over the line and limit? The waitress told us herself that they had been there for a couple of hours before we came in, so a table can come drink margaritas all they want for as long as they want, as long as no one orders the Mex mart. It has nothing to do with the amount of alcohol served, the behavior of the drunk guests, butonly about one specific drink.
Never again will I go back there, so I hope that the rest of the Mexican restaurants in Austin (there are about 5,000, so Trudy's needs to remember they are not the only and far from the best game in town) are willing to accept my money in exchange for a harassment free environment to eat in.
unfriendly to bigger parties – Sorry my party of 7 chose your place. Didn't try to accommodate. Ended up breaking up my party into two booths. Bar guy wouldn't let me buy 2 beers, even when I pointed out that the 2nd beer was going to a 75 year old man sitting at the front of the restaurant. I'm 40, and I certainly didn't seem like I'd be unruly if I had 2 beers given to me. Never again!
Stuffed Avocado – I have been in Austin a little over a month for business and Trudy's is a Monday fixture. We go for the Mexican Martinis and Stuffed Avacado, but the atmosphere is great, the service has always been exceptional and the prices are very resonable. It's a great atmosphere for business as I am a smoker and some co-workers are not. The patio fits for both of us.
I wholly agree with 1 previous post that stated if you order the mexican martinis ($5.00 on Monday) you should skip the glass. The first time I ordered it, I used the glass and lost half the drink trying to pour it. Had it been the second I would have understood. Did I mention the stuffed avacado??? I order mine with the queso and it is exceptional. The texture is unbelievable and flavors follows. Trudy's will be greatly missed when I go home and may have to drive the 4 hours if a craving hits (which will likely happen)
HOLY SMOKE!!!! – My wife and I came to Austin last Monday evening and had dinner at Trudy's North Star. I was in the mood for something really spicy. I perused the menu while having my first of two Mexican Martinis...and there is a limit of two---and that's all you need.
I had enchiladas--two beef, one cheese. At Trudy's you can have your choice of sauces to cover your enchiladas and I asked our server to give me the spiciest, most hot sauce they had. He chose the caliente.
We waited for our food to arrive and continued with our mexican martinis and chips and red hot sauce and green hot sauce both of which giving my mouth and pretty good sizzle. When our food arrived, I dove into the enchiladas and halfway through my first beef enchilda I was sweating from the heat. Not only was the sauce spicy, but so was the beef mixture. I LOVE it when it's so spicy that you break out in a sweat! The food was awesome, the service was incredible and the only thing I had against it was that I was not able to go back before I left. I'm in Houston now, craving those enchiladas.
Why is this restaurant so popular?!?! – The only reason I ever eat at Trudy's is because friends want to meet at the restaurant. Every time I go, I swear to myself that I will not return- I do not understand how this restaurant draws such a large crowd. The food is mediocre and the wait for a table is always double what the host/hostess tells you. It is ridiculous.
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