One of the reasons I write this blog is that I love connecting people to the things they need. I enjoy helping folks find everything from the best al pastor in town to the perfect restaurant for their Aunt Gussie's 90th birthday luncheon. On the flip side, I am passionate about spreading the word about hardworking business owners who are making a go of their dream and need some help getting customers in the door.
I've recently discovered a restaurant that falls into the latter category, Al Sur Latin American Bistro. Saying that I "discovered" it actually means that I finally made my way over to try a place that Yelpers and Chowhounders have been raving about for the seven months it's been open. But both times I've visited, the place has been nearly empty. I just don't understand why it's not getting more traffic; it certainly should be.
As is obvious by the name, Al Sur serves Latin American cuisine, and - full disclosure, here - I know precious little about that food genre. What I do know is that I enjoyed two reasonably-priced, delicious meals there, and that the owner, Boris, engaged us in friendly conversations both times. The decor is pretty sparse, but what Al Sur lacks in showiness it makes up for in heart. Here's a little tour of what we've tried so far.
Complimentary chips & salsa. The salsa has a hearty, smoky flavor.
House salad ($4.95). The dressing is creamy, but light - and sure tastes house-made. I loved the fried green plantains that accompanied it.
Papas a la huancaina (oven-roasted potatoes topped with a huancaina sauce and a partial ear of choclo)($5.50). This is more carb-heavy than I typically order, but it was tasty, and the huge, chewy kernels on the choclo were a treat.
Empanadas ($4.85 for three - your choice of ground beef/potatoes or chicken). These are a real bargain. They're fried and wonderfully flaky, and the chimichurri served with it packs a delightful, garlicky punch.
Speaking of garlicky punch, these Camarones al mojo de ajo ($11.45) meld the age-old (and winning) combination of garlic, butter and shrimp. Never mind that the shrimp are still swimming; I like them that way, thank you very much.
Pescado en salsa capers ($10.45). The chef here clearly shares my belief that seafood is just too healthy on its own, so dousing it in buttery or creamy sauces is a good plan. The plentiful capers added a nice zing.
The crowning glory, the crepas de cajeta ($6.85). Fantastic crepes with just the right amount of egg-y flavor, adorned with creamy cajeta, pecans, and vanilla ice cream. Heaven.
Al Sur resides in the same strip mall as the Cap City Comedy Club, right near 183 and Lamar. Hurry over and support Boris and his crew; you won't be disappointed.
Al Sur Latin American Bistro
8120 Research Blvd.
Austin, TX 78758
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