Jack Allen’s Kitchen wouldn’t normally be on my radar because it’s about 3 hours’ drive from our home in Dallas. However, I was lucky to eat at their Round Rock location when my friends and I played at a tennis tournament in nearby Georgetown. It was love at first bite. I told my husband about the unforgettable pork belly sliders and he was instantly on board. We planned a road trip around the Hill Country and the first stop was Round Rock so we could eat at JAK.
I’d made a reservation in advance for 8.30 and we were seated straight away. Service was friendly and they were happy to accommodate our dietary restrictions.
The flavours are definitely Southern-inspired; some of the dishes are a creative twist on old classics. Take, for example, the 5 cheese macaroni and chicken. Not only is it creamy and delicious, the achiote chicken works well in the dish.
Jack Allen’s Kitchen sources 85% of their food and drinks from local farms, so our server told us. They list the name of the local farm or brewery or vintner next to each food item whenever possible. We decided to try new local craft beers. Mine was a very smooth, chocolaty pecan porter from Austin-based 512 Brewery.
Now on to what really matters: the food.
A scoop of the pimiento cheese made in house. First of all, thank you Jack Allen’s Kitchen for spelling it correctly. Second, it was moreish!
BLT sliders made with grilled pork belly that melted in the mouth, fried green tomatoes, and pimiento cheese in a sweet, soft bun that held together to the end. On the side, some JAK’s slaw, a little on the so icy side, I think it has jalapenos, but a delicious contrast.
The red chile fries were not what I expected them to be at all. They have an interesting flavor but they’re not spicy. The fries come with red chile, scallions, lime, cotija cheese, cilantro and garlic aioli. We found them highly addictive.
My husband had one of the specials: house cut beef tenderloin with arugula pesto, goat cheese potato latke, Brussels sprout and corn relish and caramelized yolk butter. The star of the dish was the tenderloin: perfectly cooked, tender, packed with flavour. Arguably among the best we’ve had.
I had an item from the regular menu, chorizo stuffed pork tenderloin medallions with roasted garlic cream sauce, mash and chef’s veggies. The veggies had a wonderful yet subtle flavor and the red potato mash was creamy and delicious. The pork medallions had grilled jalapenos in the stuffing, which along with the chorizo made the dish a bit too spicy for me. That’s my personal opinion, of course.
Jack Allen’s Kitchen has two other locations, both in Austin.
P.S.: It really was worth the drive!