I am always on the hunt for new, interesting restaurants. We have a few on rotation that I love, but sometimes you just don’t want to go where everybody knows your name – you know what I mean?? So I did some research on Yelp and found this wine bar in North Central Austin called Simplicity. It had a lot going for it – it’s a sister restaurant to Jezebel, the menu is mainly tapas, they serve cheap wines and boast that they are “almost a zero-waste restaurant.”
This was too intriguing to pass up, so a couple of weeks ago Chris and I went on a Friday night. Since it was so cheap and they offer demi-bottles (which I love!!). We started off with a nice Gruet Blanc de Noir – a super nice, crisp sparkler from New Mexico. It was pretty cheap at $7 a glass.
For the food courses we ordered a variety of small plates including: mushroom and hearts of palm duxelle, pork satays with Caribbean jerk mayo, roasted mussels & Andouille sausage and a garbanzo bean and rosemary spread. The dishes were hit or miss. The garbanzo bean and rosemary spread was a winner. It was essentially pureed garbanzos with olive oil and rosemary. While it was simple and something I could make at home, I enjoyed it. I also really liked the mussels. There was so much flavor, which was actually the problem with the rest of the food. It was kind of bland. But not the mussels. The dish looked like a typical mussels dish you would get anywhere, but the sausage packed such a unique punch, it was well worth it.
The two dishes I was not as impressed with were the duxelle and the pork satays. The duxelle was actually not bad tasting. It was just underwhelming. I never really tasted any hearts of palm. It seemed to me like a cup of sauteed mushrooms. Don’t get me wrong – I love mushrooms. I just did not want that to be my dinner. The real disappointment of the night were the satays. They had such promise. I don’t know how, but the jerk mayo had no flavor at all. I mean I dipped my satay in and went to bite it and I tasted nothing. It was kind of weird. And the pork kind of had a jerky taste to it, not jerk. Needless to say I won’t get that again. But I will be back. The ambiance is very nice and the prices can’t be beat – all tapas is $4.95 and they have approximately 25 wines available for between $3.50-$8 a pour. Also, on Saturday and Sunday they offer Sangria and wood-charcoal grilled Paella.