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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Mattie's at Green Pastures Review

"I want to marry the biscuits at Mattie's; the white peacock can officiate," my best friend said as we sampled our appetizer during our first trip to Mattie's at Green Pastures. Hannah is normally funny but on this night in particular she was hitting me with one-liners about our food. Which I think really represents Mattie's. It isn't stuffy like you might expect and the food is way better than I could have ever dreamt.

I first saw the place pop up on Eater Austin {my favorite news site} and knew I wanted to visit the white house located amongst the oak trees of South Austin. It was too picture perfect - the ideal spot to Instagram my food. But as with all places like it I assumed it would be over-priced with tiny portions. Boy was I wrong and I don't think I've ever been this happy to be that wrong.

When you drive up to Mattie's you may come across peacocks crossing the road. The street is dotted with signs saying, "Peacocks Welcome Here." The somewhat long drive leads you up to the house where complimentary valet will happily park your car. At this time I think I should point out that two things were happening for Hannah and I. 1: A dean of our college was getting out of the car in front of us. 2: A wedding was going on. Yes, a wedding. The bride & groom were taking photos at the entrance of the restaurant. It was beautiful.

Once we made it past the happy couple we checked in for our 5pm reservation. We were 15 minutes early so he suggested we stop in at the bar for drinks. The bar, right off the foyer, looks like it could be in a home in Southern Living. The handsome people perched on bar stools sipping Old Fashions helped, of course. Out of inspiration for my 16th birthday trip to Paris, when all I drank was Kir Royale, I ordered a Kir Royale Highball ($11). It was Côté de Mas sparkling crémant, French cassis, crushed ice, and grapefruit oil - I cannot tell you anything about all of those words but I can tell you it was beautifully made, perfectly sweet with just the right amount of bubbly and refreshing.

About three seconds after we received our drinks we were ushered to our table in the main dining room. The furniture was simple - wooden tables and chairs with inviting blue velvet booths. The lighting was muted; not great for photos but great for intimacy. Speaking of intimate, it was for such a big house. And with a wedding going on; it felt like it was just Hannah and I in some southern family's home. Everything about the decor, the simple paintings, the wood floors continued the vibe that this was somewhere you can relax, enjoy the company of your dining companions and let time pass.

Being the bread lovers that we are, Hannah and I opted for the Buttermilk Biscuits ($8) with seasonal butter. Now Hannah and I have been to the "best restaurant in Austin" Olamaie, whose biscuits are talked about like legends in the Austin restaurant scene. Neither one of us loved Olamaie but we agreed the biscuits were good. Then we visited Mattie's. Mattie's biscuits blew every other biscuit I have ever ingested out of the water. I'm serious. Two southern women are telling you these are the best biscuits we've ever had - believe us. They have this crunch on the outside with a sweet glaze. The insides are like a fluffy pillow you want to fall into, you want to snuggle deep in its hold and live there forever. The seasonal butter added an appreciated kick to an already delicious appetizer. Hannah said she wanted to make her wedding cake out of the biscuits.

Both of us, we are best friends, got the same entree. The Mattie’s Fried Chicken ($24) with Yukon pomme purée, spinach, pickled onions and chipotle-yogurt dressing. It's presented on what appears to be a cooking pan with handles. These are not small portions. Read: they are huge! So if you see $24 and think, no way, realize you'll take half of it home.

The chicken reminded me of trips to Church's Chicken as a kid after football games in Tallahassee, Florida. But the taste was way better. The batter is extra crunchy, the chicken is moist, it's just the right amount of salty and you can smell the spices wafting from the meat when you cut into it.

The pomme purée tastes like the classic mashed your mom used to make (with cheese). They are a little grainy and they could have been slightly warmer but overall they added a nice touch to the chicken. The spinach salad was wonderful. The greens were delicious, the dressing added the perfect spicy kick to the meal and it was a refreshing bite after the heavier chicken. Hannah doesn't even like spinach and she finished her salad. When I asked her what she thought of her meal, she just nodded her head vigorously - in Hannah speak this means she really, really liked it.

Overall the entree was everything I wanted out of it. I wasn't disappointed by its size, its quality or its taste. It was just downright delicious. Something I thought I could only experience in the best of southern kitchens that I have back home. Not in a posh house in South Austin.  

Dessert was the 1965 Milk Punch Single ($7). It tasted like Christmas and fall wrapped up in a tiny, adorable glass. It made us both feel warm and fuzzy inside. They have other desserts that seemed delicious but after the drinks, appetizer and entrees we were too stuffed. The drink hit the spot. 

Lastly, the bathroom was cute. It has green stalls and there was a candle that smelled ahhmazing. It was clean, tucked away and not over the top. 

After my experience, Mattie's at Green Pastures is now one of my top five Austin restaurants. It will not disappoint you because they take southern food and keep it simple. There is no over complication of the basics. They invite you to sit on their porch or in the dining room and stay awhile. You will never feel rushed or that you are overstaying your welcome - just like any good southern home.
I've already made a reservation for my graduation dinner. 

Mattie's at Green Pastures is located at 811 W Live Oak St, Austin, TX 78704. Reservations and more information can be found here.

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