El Sapo – Onion Rings, Burgers and Botanas
So, let’s talk about El Sapo. Part of the “El” family that comprises of El Chile and El Chilito, this baby is their new burger place in East Austin, and I kinda really dig it.
I’m loving the actual setting. It’s kinda an indoor/outdoor vibe, feeling like the whole thing is one giant patio, and on a balmy evening it’s just about perfect. The menu is mainly burgers with a Tex Mex twist, but you can get a regular all-American cheeseburger if you so wish. Thank you, El Sapo menu designer, for not insisting that all of your offerings need to be fusion. Not everyone is into guac on the their burgers (ie, me).
Queso fries, lamb burgers, shrimp burgers and a bunless chalupa burger (paleo,bro), elevate this menu beyond your standard burger bar fare. Botanas (a more exotic way of saying appetizers) are all half price during happy hour, which runs daily from 3-7.
So, the burgers are served in Butterkrust buns, which I’m totally ok with. I’ve had others who are less enthused by the concept, but bitch please, it’s a burger. They’re generously portioned, use Black Angus mince and have a great char around the edges. The real standout here are the onion rings – lightly dusted in a crunchy batter, plenty of black pepper. Prepare to eat the entire serve, you will not be able to maintain portion control on these things. Overall, I just really enjoyed my meal here, and will definitely be back.
Can I also recommend that you head down the road to the new Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop Eastside after dinner for a cheeky cupcake and cocktail (yes, they have a liquor license!)? Sounds like a plan to me.
Finally, just wanted to share a bit of a lol moment. The view from my table was like a scene from Portlandia – I couldn’t have made up this over exaggerated parody, except it was real life. Two dudes, same seats, exact same facial hair, exact same glasses, exact same hipster uniform. But I’m sure they were eating burgers before it was cool to eat burgers.
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Kinda sweet, a little savory and sorta spicy, pepper jelly is a great all round condiment to keep in the fridge.