My first experience at Hoover's Cooking was at the eastside restaurant. I watched Hoover check every order that went out to the crowd and keep an eye on everyone. I've never met the man but in my head he's a nice version of TV star and chef Gordon Ramsey. I don't get over to his flagship restaurant very often but I do frequent his second in northwest Austin off 183 near Anderson Mill. They aren't near as good but over the few years they've been open I can say they have become consistent.
That first year was a mess. The portions were always different. One week the food would be great and the next it wouldn't be good at all. I remember ordering the bbq special and when the food came out I have maybe an 1/8 pound of sliced beef that could only be described as the trimmings picked out of the trash. Fortunately they've tightened up but Hoover's Jollyville has a way to go before they win any awards.
I like their Meat and Three offering. You get one meat from a list of favorites like chicken fried steak, chicken, ham, etc. and three sides for a slightly lower price. The portions are smaller but it's still enough to fill the grumpy fat man. Tonight I ordered chicken fried steak with jalapeno cream spinach, mustard greens and a house salad. Oh, before I forget, I ordered a tall glass of sweet tea to wash it all down. They make their tea very sweet so be prepared for that jolt of sugary delight when you take a big swig. My salad came out a few minutes after we ordered and I started in on it. Your standard iceberg lettuce, tomato slices and red onion affair with a couple packs of crackers. It was fresh and crisp but I didn't even have time to finish it before our food arrived. And they were pretty busy. That's one thing about Hoover's Jollyville, they don't mess around. They must be able to tell I'm hungry. The chicken fried steak was probably five ounces of meat, double breaded and fried up nice and crispy then covered in cream gravy. It's plenty salty out of the kitchen but I added a little black pepper. I just like a little extra pepper, it's not that it's bland. The jalapeno cream spinach was just a little warm from the peppers and delicious. I added some sport pepper vinegar to the mustard greens and ate them up too. I was picky as a kid but you can't stop me from ordering greens wherever I can find them now. Maybe it's all that Popeye the Sailor Man I watched back then. They also bring out a little cornbread and sweet potato rolls. They're good and fresh though the portions are half of what they used to be.
Steph ordered the chicken fried chicken breast with mac-n-cheese, garlic cheese grits and mashed potatoes. She's all about the starch tonight. She liked the chicken saying it had plenty of salt and gravy. She didn't like the mac-n-cheese because it had a gritty texture to it. I guess it's the cheese sauce? She liked the garlic cheese grits but made the suggestion they call it garlic cheese grit soup since it's pretty thin, as were the mashed potatoes. As I noted earlier, they're consistent but not everything is up to the standards of the eastside Hoover's.
We were full so we didn't get any dessert. They have several pies, cheesecakes and puddings to choose from and those have always been good in the past. I remember liking the bread pudding with rum sauce but it's been too long to be able to describe it. Sorry.
The manager said Goodbye and asked how was everything this evening so they do try to keep the customer happy though we did have a little problem with the waitress. When she came by to check on us she filled my glass of tea with one pitcher of the two in her hand. Steph moved her water glass over but the waitress quipped, "this is tea" in a rather blunt tone. Steph joked that she was in trouble and probably wouldn't get anymore water. She was right. It wasn't until the waitress checked on us again that she finally filled up the glass and then did the extra nice thing to save her tip. It was a little too much. And then she did my favorite tip killing move, she thanked us as she walked away with her back to us. That's just classy... : )
Sorry for the rant but it needed to be said. Take care and I'll see you tomorrow.