Easy Tiger 709 E 6th St Austin, Texas
I had been viewing the extreme flurry of online activity regarding new Austin eatery Easy Tiger with a great deal of envy. My Twitter stream was bombarded with amazing pictures of hot dogs in pretzel buns (!!) and general glowing reviews, so I knew it was high on my “to visit” list.
I organised a little girlie date with Emily from Cooking Inside The Lines, the gal with the golden palate. Not only am I fortunate enough to count this gentle lady amongst my closest amigas, but she is also kind enough to put a roof over my head whenever I’m in Austin. This means we’ve shared many quality moments of “patio time” with bottles of wine and conversations about food, existentialism and Tim Gunn.
And so to Easy Tiger. This chic eatery is the newest offering from Andrew Curren, the brain behind 24 Diner but perhaps better known for his recent stint on Top Chef. The concept of the restaurant is a European style beer garden and bakery, with housemade sausages and menu perfectly designed for grazing and snacks. The location is at the quieter end of 6th St, and is nestled alongside Waller Creek.
The take-out bakery section sits on the upper level and offers freshly baked rustic loaves and a smaller selection of pastries. Downstairs leads you to the indoor seating, bar area and backyard beer garden.
There’s a strong focus on the beverage options here, with an Old World wine list, large selection of craft beers on tap and an assortment of “bomber” (750ml) beers. Yes it’s true, with my low brow taste in beer (read: I love Miller High Life) many of the options were lost on me, but I can at least appreciate that the menu would delight beer nerds. Just in case you’re interested, I did end up at least ordering a local Texas brew- Independence Stash IPA.
The food has a strong German influence, with house-made sausages and cured meats, Antonelli’s cheese selections, meat and pickle boards and a large selection of artisan sandwiches all served on Easy Tiger bread. Sides include sauerkraut, braised red cabbage and peperonata. Undoubtedly, their signature item is their version of a “hot dog’ consisting of a house-made sausage served in a pretzel bun.
It was just a delicious as it looks. A beef, garlic and bourbon sausage with a delightful snap to the casing, complimented by tart seed mustard. The most pleasant surprise was the bun, which I assumed was going to be dense and chewy (as some soft pretzels are) but was light with the perfect amount of salt.
We also sampled their beer cheese, which Emily loved, but I was less enamoured with. The garlic chunks were a little too extreme for me, plus I also felt that the subtle taste of the beer was lost since I was actually drinking a beer with it. It’s not unlike the time I was served a bacon vodka bloody mary that came with a swizzle stick of bacon. There is no way you are ever going to taste the delicateness of an infused-ingredient when also served that same item in it’s primary form.
So when should you come here? Well, ET offer a small breakfast selection but the menu really shines for lunch and afternoon drinks. The portions are certainly not large by American standards, and some may be a little put off by extra charges (eg $1 for mustard) but then all the items are either made in-house or procured from other artisan producers.
Choose a gloriously sunny Austin arvo (that’s “afternoon” to all you non-Aussies), sip some adult beverages, munch on some house-cured meats, soft pretzels or a cheese platter and love your life.