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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Austin
Food
Feel
Price
9.2
9.0
$40
French
Upmarket restaurant

Hours
Wed–Mon 6:00pm–1:30am

Features Date-friendly, outdoor dining
Bar Beer, wine, liquor
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Accepted

www.justines1937.com

East Austin
4710 E. 5th St.
Austin, TX
(512) 385-2900
Justine’s Brasserie
This coquettish little place transports us—and not just to the hinterlands of Austin

Justine’s glows softly in a downtrodden neighborhood out by the airport, looking remote and sexy as if it doesn’t really care what you think of it. Its attractive, somewhat reliable waitstaff even flirts unselfconsciously with patrons, while the dim lighting and slightly peeling red wallpaper suggests a Montmartre burlesque. On warm nights, the romantically lit pétanque court and mismatched tables fill with pretty people sipping classic cocktails (largely successful, but depends on the bartender). All the beguile makes it easy perhaps to overlook the fact that Justine’s often boasts the best execution in the city. It’s like a French cooking class in here, a kitchen that would be considered solid in any city. Escargots are sensuously toothsome in their traditional and simple parsley butter; the charcuterie is eminently capable, festooned with duck rillettes, chicken liver mousse, or pâté de campagne. Ratatouille is fantastic, both in texture and vibrant vegetal flavor. French onion is correct and delicious, and mains are expertly cooked and classically paired. Fans of aggressively seasoned burgers will find this one heavenly, the fries crispy and thin.

The short wine list could be better—its low-priced bottles from less-advertised French regions are on the right track, but could stand to transcend the grocery aisle. But this kind of excellent late-night cooking and sincerity is exactly what this city needs more of.

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