Kemuri Tatsu-ya, antone’s, launderette – Austin

Tex-Jap sounds bad (unlike Tex-Mex) but Kemuri Tatsu-ya is a restaurant that fuses Texas and Japanese fare. Interesting idea and sort of worked. The restaurant designer must have had fun, mixing good ole boy Texas and Japanese izakaya (informal pub) decor, think cattle skulls and lanterns. Perhaps the most natural mashup we had was well-grilled smoked pork ribs with gochujang hot red chili paste. The corn with crema and chilis tasted almost Cuban. The ramen dipped in a broth with brisket bits was tasty but unwieldy.

East Austin seems to be the place for inventive food by young chefs, maybe because they can afford the rent, although that may be changing with gentrification.

It seems still at that point where pioneers like Launderette feel out there, geographically and gastronomically, which I appreciate…I credit my parents for this. They ran an art gallery in an otherwise prosaic neighborhood and it felt like a happy surprise to encounter an interesting art gallery. Launderette was hopping (glad I reserved tables at all these places). Excellent unusual burger (pork and beef), frites and mussels. And mean margaritas! Louder than I like but diners were a happy lot.

Our friend Art recommended Antone’s, a blues club that turned out to be a block from the Hilton (where we have a great view from the 17th floor). Antones was sold out Sunday but almost empty Monday with no cover and we lucked out with the Brad Stivers band. Brad plays a mean guitar– rockabilly and blues — and sings well too. Realized he’s my son Noah’s age. Only 28. We hoped to see his drummer Lindsay Beaver’s band Tuesday but Brad filled in for her. Bigger crowd. Lindsey is booked at the Des Moines Marriott downtown on feb 15 so maybe we will catch her there. Didn’t know the Marriott has live music. Turns out it’s the annual Des Moines bluesfest!

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