high 5

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Despite adoring The Dude, we are not bowlers (although I’ve been known to belly the ball and I’m an expert in Body English). We are, however, eaters. The classic Austin bowling-food spot is the Dart Bowl where you can enjoy a hefty plate of old-skool enchiladas in an authentic dive setting. But what if you want to spare to more refined fare?

When the Goodnight opened up on Anderson Lane in 2012, they introduced chef’d-up dining and drinking to the bowling (and video-gaming) experience. The Goodnight was a place you could take the kids, set ‘em loose, and then loosen up yourself with good friends, good cocktails, and good eats.

After the Goodnight and their landlord couldn’t see eye-to-eye on rent, the Goodnight guttered. Shortly after that, in rolls High 5. Started in Bettendorf, Iowa (close to my hometown), High 5 expanded to Lakeway and now Anderson Lane. The vibe and concept are similar to Goodnight, although the food and drinks seem slightly more creative, thanks to the touch of Chef David Hedger.

We stopped in for lunch on MLK Day to give the place a try. Since I had the day off, I ordered Mo’s Avocadorita (Sauza Tequila, fresh muddled avocados, and Paula’s orange with a tajin salt rim; $10) mainly because: Muddled avocado? The bartender further enticed me with a tequila upgrade (I forget which one; $3). I got it all down, but I can’t say I’d order it again. And the upgrade turned out to be a floater, which meant I had to hike over to Office Depot and then to EcoClean to double wood the buzz before driving home. Unusual ingredients are attractive to me (sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t), but be assured that the cocktail menu sports more standard mixers (not to mention beers on tap).

Intrigued by charred strawberries, the bride ordered the Spinach and Arugula Salad with chicken, a plate that received good reviews at Lakeway (charred strawberries, Australian goat and sheep feta, spicy candied pecans, and champagne vinaigrette; $15) and I chose the Duck, Duck, Goose! appetizer (two ground duck sliders with a blackberry brandy sauce, one pan-seared fois gras crostini with a pomegranate jam, all topped with arugula and pickled shallots; $22). The salad was excellent—the bride loved the strawberries—and the chef’d-up sliders were savory and sweet. The slider order brought the chef out to chat since nothing says foodie more than ordering the most expensive item on the menu (for lunch no less).

The food took a while to come out, especially for lunch, probably because of the sliders. If you are in a rush (and light on cash), we’d recommend ordering from the daily lunch specials, which range from $6 to $8. The full menu ranges from burgers ($10), grilled cheese ($9), and all-beef foot-long hot dogs ($12) to snapper provencal ($21), veggie pesto pappardelle ($12 to 16), and chimichurri rojo skirt steak ($17). And lookythere: Fried Twinkies ($9)! On Sundays, High 5 serves up brunch. If you despise gluten, there are many gluten-free options on the menu.

MLK Day was slow, but while we were there, a few of the target clientele—families with kids—were enjoying the place. Mom and dad could retire for a quiet meal while the sprogs sprang off to hoot and holler in the arcade. We don’t have kids, but if we did, we’d probably be here weekly. And given the depth of the menu, we need to come back during prime evening hours to check out the other bites.

web&where: interwebs; 2700 west anderson lane; menu
what’s the deal? Bowling and arcade with chef’d up food and rinks; table service
overall: ** (food**; drink**; atmosphere**; service**; instagrammability**)
cost: $$
does it scramble? If there’s anything left over!

our scale:
–          meh [think twice]
*         OK [it’ll get the job done]
**       good [solid neighborhood joint]
***     damn good [we’ll definitely be back]
****   yippity-yikes that was amazeballs [fantastic; one of the best]
***** holy sh!t [transcendental; best of the best]

each $ = $10; cost is based on a typical dinner entrée and appetizer (no drinks)

 

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