Ambience. There are restaurants that can serve it up and restaurants that can’t.
Most people who want a nice dining experience include the restaurant’s environment in their considerations. Lighting, artwork, privacy, noise level… ingredients that all play a role in an ultimate dining experience. When a restaurant combines elegant and comfortable ambience with tasteful and well-prepared food, they’ve hit the proverbial ball out of the park. If you’re looking for a home run, Goodall’s Kitchen is where you can, literally, step up to the plate.
A Texas-sized ambition
Located close to downtown Austin in the historic Hotel Ella, today Goodall’s Restaurant delivers on the same precedent that Miss Ella Newsome set more than a century ago. When Goodall Wooten, son of one of the University of Texas founder’s, Thomas Dudley Wooten, asked his new wife Ella if she would rather have a trip around the world or renovations made to the house, Ella responded, “Both.” If Miss Ella were alive today and asked if she would rather have great ambience or great food, she likely would respond, “Both.”
Goodall’s Kitchen indeed delivers both. Combining an antebellum-like charm with the high standards that Austinites have come to expect of their eateries, Goodall’s Kitchen provides an ideal setting for a well-prepared meal in a thoughtful setting. The menu includes a variety of vegan and gluten-free dishes and a number of seasonal offerings. Cool Cucumber Gazpacho soup includes a bite of spicy almonds while the chef takes a step toward homerun range with the Heirloom Tomato and Watermelon appetizer with basil and a balsamic dressing. Crispy Pork Belly will please anyone from Texas and everyone else who got here as soon as they could. In keeping with Austin trends – a Shells & Cheese appetizer will stand up to any Mac & Cheese dish in the city.
Dinner choices range from fresh and local-as-possible fish and scallops (flown in from Maine) to a specialty pasta and selections of red meats. Every item has its own personality of unique flavors and combinations. Desserts include a Goat Cheesecake, brilliantly described by the waiter as “deconstructed,” and he was spot on – a must try.
Quiet charm in a busy city
One of the pleasant surprises about Goodall’s Kitchen is the comfortable yet reverent charm of the space and the eloquent demeanor of its employees. Despite the harried activities that may be steps away downtown, or the stifling heat of the Austin summer, all is quickly forgotten as the ambience envelops you. In addition to dinner, Goodall’s offers a brunch every day of the week, and every weekend from 3pm to 5pm you can enjoy a tea service, one of the few opportunities to do so in Austin. Included with their traditional tea service fare is local tea from Austin’s zhi tea.
Austin is a food city and its restaurant scene is thriving. Austinites are known for their love of eating out and data backs that up. The average restaurant in Austin has had more daily transactions through the first six months of the year than the average restaurant in any other large American city. It can be difficult to find a restaurant that combines the homerun combination of great ambience and equally great food. At Goodall’s Restaurant you won’t get a swing and a miss. You’ll get to experience that knock it out of the park feeling with “both.”
Cover: Shrimp and Grits. Photo Jessica Attie
Haven Lindsey resides in Austin, Texas. She is a freelance writer with more than 20 years of experience writing on topics including healthcare, addiction, public policy, education, travel, food and human interest stories.