Austin >Food & Dining > Hudson's on the Bend
3509 Ranch Rd 620 N, Austin, TX | Directions 7873430.396085 -97.931703
One of the first places in Austin to legitimize hill country cuisine, Hudson's on the Bend is down-home eating with upscale sensibilities. I've always felt that Chef Jeff Blank should be much more famous than he currently is, because way before culinary fusion was a thing, he was topping pumpkin risotto with pheasant, turning rattlesnake into demure crabcake-like appetizers, making quesadillas out of bull's private parts. And that, friends, takes balls.
Grilled Perfection! – My wife thought the special lobster bisque had a little too much chile arbol, but I did not. I thought the green salad had a little too much wine vinegar, and she thought it a touch over dressed. Nonetheless, we both enjoyed its subtle yet fresh flavors.
The grilled meats were all prepared to perfection, the sauces not too sweet or salty, and the sides were al dente perfection.
Yes, it is not inexpensive, but the preparation, service and ambiance are all first rate.
Fantastic Food and Some Not So Expensive Items – The watermelon pork chops were only about $15-17 and were very good. The elk back strap was amazing, as was the trout. If I am paying a lot, I expect a lot and not something I could get somewhere else for far less. This food was awesome and the service was great. I already bought some gift certificates to go again!
Food Was Dissapointing; Really Bad. Esp. for price. – This restaurant is so over-rated based on my experience. I went for Restaurant Week and the food was not good. They also decided to change the menu at the last minute and exclude wine that was advertised to go with the $35pp menu. I ordered the Duck: Way too salty and loaded with preservatives. I would never go back. Eddie V's is my Austin Favorite. If you are going to go out, don't go here. Sucks ass, especially for the price. (Server was an idiot too.)
Great for a Special Occasion – Consistently good food! Great exotic game and a great place to go for a special evening. It is very very expensive so it's definitely not a weekly or nightly place, but it's wonderful for special occasions. Love the crunchy shrimp!!
Wow!!! C'est Bon – I almost didn't go after reading these reviews but my curiosity overcame. I've been wanting to go for so long, there just aren't enough places serving wild game around Austin. I loved it enough to write my first online restaurant review. The Wild Game Sampler was just what I was looking for, and I may never forget the Rattle Snake Cakes which looked like crab cakes, tasted like what you would get if a chicken made love to a shrimp, and having the texture of fish. Even though I didn't have room for desert, the chef blessed each of us with a small carefully packaged piece of chocolate turtle pie, which I will be eating as soon as I finish this review. With that said I'm off to the pie!
NO SALT SHAKER NEEDED – I have eaten at almost every fine dining restaurant in austin and worked at a few also. Hudson's was one of the few left I had not been to. First, what is with the horrible paintings? The apples hanging from the ceiling? The biggest candle holder for a table piece known to man? Second, anyone like salt? If you do, there will be plenty of it all over the duck. Good thing there is a nice barbeque sauce that resembles something my four year old pours all over her HEB chicken fingers. The food is a cross between Bobby Flay and KC Masterpiece. Third, the waiter was great. If you want to spend a couple of hundred bucks on a meal, find a chef who has not removed his tongue. Hudson's has interesting cuts of meat, but Uchi or the Driskill, it is not.
BIG DISAPPOINTMENT!! – We are fairly recent residents of Austin, and we had heard many good things about this five star restaurant. We also knew about the exotic menu and prices. However, our experience was not up to par by a long shot. I ordered the horseradish encrusted halibut with spinach in a corn broth. The halibut wasn't encrusted with anything, rather had a few, what looked like, bean sprouts on top. The fish was extremely salty tasting with no hint of horseradish. There wasn't enough spinach to even mention. My husband ordered the strip steak with polenta parmesan fries. He said his steak was at best average tasting which you don't expect at a five star restaurant and that the polenta fries were totally tasteless. Our waiter was practically non-existent. He never came to the table after we were served to check on us once. Rather, we only saw the busboy for water and removing our plates. The waiter appeared at the end to hand us the dessert menu and then our bill. He had zero personality. We went on a Sunday evening at 7:00 and the restaurant was practically empty---only four other tables that we could see were being occupied while we were there. We felt totally ripped off considering the prices and certainly will not be back.
Don't waste your money...like we did! This is a over priced, over hyped eatery!! – Hudson's on the Bend was recommended to us for dinner during our recent anniversary celebration weekend on the banks of Lake Travis. To say that we were disappointed would put it mildly...disgusted was more appropriate. You are disappointed if you have a sub par meal at average to above average prices. You are disgusted if you have a terrible meal that cost you $160 for two entrees and 3 glasses of wine. Let's start with my entree selection presented on the menu as: Open Fire Grilled Prime Tenderloin of Beef topped with Jumbo Lump Blue Crab served with Smoked Tomato Hollandaise and Asiago Polenta Fries...WOW, sounded soooo nice on the menu...then it arrived and should have been more honestly presented on the menu as: 2-3 ounces of a small flat piece of non-prime steak with a glob of melted cheese wiz (they call it Hollandaise) with a FEW small specs of crab meat (less then a tablespoon) and five square soggy french fries stacked up next to this unappealing mess...oh, I forgot, we are going to serve this $52 entree to you COLD on a COLD plate. Honestly, that description is not exaggerated...that is what it looked like when it arrived and after the first bite I knew that we were punk'd by this over priced, over hyped eatery. My wife's entree, #1 Hawaiian Tuna was sliced so thinly as if they were conserving portions, topped with ONE boiled in water scallop, a tablespoon of crab and the only tasty item that was delivered to our table was one shrimp. The wait staff was not very attentive but, quite honestly, if I served such pathetic food I would stay away from the table as much as possible. But hey, it was our anniversary weekend and we were having such a nice time that we were not going to let Hudson's on the Bend ruin our trip...but they tried real hard to do just that. Stay as far away from this place as you can get...believe the negative reviews you are reading on this site...we wish we would have paid closer attention to the honest reviewers.
Wild game abounds at this cozy riverside dwelling in far west Austin. – In Short
Set in a restored cottage and nestled in a bend of the Colorado River next to Lake Travis, this place oozes warmth and intimacy. Bold paintings in a bright, fierce palette warm up the creamy white walls, while a fire blazes in the hearth. It isan excellent setting for festive, holiday meals as well as family celebrations, business gatherings and other special events. Inventive dishes abound, from a moist duck-tamale stuffing to the lovely pheasant in mole sauce to pecan-smoked kangaroo and ostrich, making it Austin's premier spot for wild game and exotic dishes.
So close, but not a 5 star. – We had gone to Hudson's about 15 years ago before we were married and decided to return for our 13th anniversary. It was great to stir those memories again as the place has changed very little, and has been well maintained. Starting from the top, we had to wait a few minutes for the hostess who was not at her station despite the fact that there were few people there on this Tuesday night. Our server was prompt, courteous, attentive and non-obtrusive. The menu was/is incredible and adventurous which is the real reason for one to choose to eat here! Yes, the prices are rather high but in line with those you'd find at fine restaurants in any city with high caliber eateries. Plus, this is a place for special occasions anyway. Onward....the decor was interesting, and I'm not sure how I feel about most of it---some of it was tasteful and subdued, some was tasteful and bold, some oddly did not fit even this scheme (autographed guitars and Armstrong jersey hanging in waiting area?), and some was outright tacky---like the red picnic tables lining the front lawn adorned with big plastic advertising bottles of wine. huh??? One element was noticeably absent: music. We were a bit shocked by that one. Not even background music. Finally, we were impressed by the romantic glow of the courtyard in the back as well as the bite-sized turtle pie desert that was decadent and given to us compliments of Hudson's.
All in all, it was a pleasant evening and repeatable experience, if only annually.
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