Trulucks vs. Eddie V’s
The similarities were many. Both specialize in fine dining seafood and steak, both are part of a family of restaurants — there are ten Truluck’s and five Eddie V’s — Roaring Fork and Wildfish Seafood Grille are also part of the Eddie V’s group. There are two locations of both in Austin — one downtown, one in the Arboretum.
The similarities don’t end there. Truluck’s sits in a prime corner location at 4th and Colorado — just one block from Congress Avenue.
Eddie V’s is on the corner of 5th and San Jacinto, two blocks from Congress.
Truluck’s happy hour is 4:30 p.m. – 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and all night on Sunday. Specials include half-price appetizers and $1 off specialty martinis, liquor, beer, and wine. The mood is set with live piano music and waiters offer hot towels with lemon to freshen up.
We tried miso butterscotch chicken wings ($4.50 at happy hour), mini bacon cheeseburgers ($6.50 at happy hour), and crab and shrimp rangoons ($4.50).
Eddie V’s happy hour is also 4:30 p.m. – 7 p.m. every night and all night on Sunday and Monday. Specials include half-price appetizers, .50 oysters, and $1 off all drinks.
If all appetizers are half-price, happy hour guests can enjoy their famous crab cake for $8.50, calamari for $6.50, and tuna tartare for $6.50. There is also a three-piece jazz band playing nightly starting at 7 p.m.
Below are the adorable bacon cheeseburgers at Truluck’s bar. In the background, the Statesman‘s Addie Broyles takes a bite.
My favorite dish at Eddie V’s was the Sliced Filet Mignon Hot Rock Ishiyaki that we seared on a hot Japanese river stone at the table ($14). It was melt-in-your-mouth delicious and served with a umami-licious dipping sauce. If they offer it 1/2 priced during happy hour for $7, I’d jump on that deal!
Each restaurant offers a “Seafood Tower” with a variety of shellfish — listed on the menus as “market price” (don’t you hate that?). Based on the information shared by their publicists, I’d guess that you’ll spend at least $40 for this appetizer that serves two to four diners.
It was especially impressive at Truluck’s as the waiters carried the two-story tower out complete with misting dry ice.
Also at Truluck’s was this fantastically jumbo Nigerian King Shrimp. It was served with a Niman Ranch New York Strip steak, roasted mushroom ragout and parmesan mashed potato. While not currently on the menu, this opulent surf and turf would cost $58 and could easily be split between two people.
One of the most flavorful shellfish we tasted was this crab claw that I rescued off the seafood tower and stored safely in my stomach.
While I grew up in Maryland, I’m not as much a fan of crab cakes as I am of soft-shelled crabs and it doesn’t really matter to me if crab cakes have a bit of filler in them.
If you care about such things, you’ll probably enjoy the Truluck’s Superlump Crabcake ($16) and the Eddie V’s All Lump Crab Cake ($17). They were both super-rich.
Both restaurants also served a delicious rare tuna dish. The Truluck’s Sesame-Crusted Hawaiian Tuna ($29) was a favorite since it was much lighter than other entrees. I also loved Eddie V’s Pacific Ahi Tuna Steak ($28) with shiitake mushrooms, wasabi potato puree and ginger-soy jus.
Overall, Truluck’s and Eddie V’s offer similar experiences and prices. Comparing them feels somewhat like splitting hairs but I would say where they differ the most is in atmosphere.
Both are closed for lunch but Truluck’s offers a more serious and quiet atmosphere for happy hour with colleagues, dinner with clients, or to catch up with an old friend.
Eddie V’s is a great singles and dating scene (especially the bar), and I felt the urge to get up and dance to the jazzy trio (but contained myself). I’d recommend it for a special-occasion or romantic meal.
More photos from Truluck’s (mostly by Adam) are available on Flickr. Unfortunately Eddie V’s was very dark (people were using tiny flashlights to read their menus) so I didn’t have as many shots turn out.
What would you recommend for a high-end seafood or steak dinner in downtown Austin?Tags: bar, crab, eddie v's, happy hour, seafood, steak, truluck's, tuna