4710 E 5th St.
Austin, TX 78702
(512) 385-2900
* note: website’s splash page has sexy black and white photos of topless women in bathtubs :)

A couple of Fridays ago, at around 9 pm, my high school buddies, Hillary and Alex had just climbed my 3 flights of stairs after driving almost 4 hours each to get to me. They were hungry and tired and wanted a sit down meal at a restaurant that stayed open late. Nothing too heavy they asked and diner food was not appealing to them. It dawns on me that I’ve been meaning to try Justine’s, a French restaurant who serves dinner til 1:30am and closes at 2am. We made the 30 minute trek (I live way north, and Justine’s is located way south/east) sans reservation. The wait, supposedly notorious, wasn’t so bad but we arrived there close to 10.

It’s a romantic little shack of a restaurant. A house with Christmas lights strung all over the front yard where there were outside seating. The hostess went above and beyond to cater to our prompt seating. She sat us inside but the music was too loud and we were having a hard time hearing each other. I haven’t seen these girls since November and not hearing each other just won’t do. The hostess sweetly seated us outside at a garden table meant for two people but later moved another small table over when it was available.

As mentioned in my previous blog entry, I ordered the escargot to start as I wanted to try escargot a second time after an abysmal first time.

Escargot in Parsley Butter Sauce ($6.50)

The escargot, perfectly cooked, was so good swimming in the parsley butter that I could have easily snacked on another order. At $6.50 an order, why not? I’m kind of a little glutton and had had dinner right before the girls showed up, but if I weren’t already almost full, I’d grab the bread and sop up the butter.

Duck Leg Confit ($15.00)

Alex’s order, the Duck Leg Confit was heavenly. As implied by confit, cooked in its own fat, the duck skin was crisp and the meat decadently moist. Fries were addictive with hints of garlic. Hillary and I kept reaching over and swiping them.

Ratatouille ($10.00)

Ratatouille was Hillary’s order. It was absolutely delicious. What a great way to get someone like me to eat her vegetables. Hillary had leftovers that she left at my place. I made a side of rice and it went together beautifully. The little yellow tomatoes (heirloom cherry tomatoes?) were cooked enough to soften but not too long to burst, giving me a zingy burst of joy each time I popped one between my teeth. The vegetables were jammed packed with flavors. Savory, sweet, tangy…..

My order: The scallops and lardon skewers ($15.00)

Food on a stick and grilled! The scallops were succulent and the lardon, mmm how can you go wrong with pork fat? Is that possible? The portion sizes here are definitely European, which is good. How can you fully appreciate the wonderful tastes when your belly is aching in pain? I say this but the moderate portion was also perfect for someone like me who was eating her second dinner.

Chocolate Pear Tart ($4.00)

One tart, 3 forks. So good :) Chocolate and pear, an unsurprisingly winning pair.

Everything I tried, I would order again. This poses a problem because it’ll make it a little bit harder for me to branch out and try more of Justine’s menu. I guess if my tasting is any indication of the rest of the menu, it’ll behoove me to venture out as much as I could happily relive this exact meal.

P.S. I could relive the exact company too. Miss these girls already. Here we are at Justine’s pre-meal.