Starting this Burger Time entry with a caveat: The Red's Porch menu reads "Smokey Goat." Now, this may refer to a fictional character, like Smokey Bear, or it may just be a typo, an error when typing the adjective "smoky." Either way, that's how it's spelled on the menu, so I'm sticking with the proper name. Now, on to the burger.
The grade: C
Three-word review: Room-service burger
The setting: Whether you’re sitting in the dining room on the rooftop deck or on the patio at the original South Lamar Boulevard location, Red’s Porch gives the sense of a leisurely outdoor hang. A roster of ritas, regular specials on Texas draft beers and a calendar featuring themed parties and game nights enhances the casual party vibe. When weighing the balance of restaurant-bar, Red’s lands more in the “bar that serves food” category than “restaurant with big drink selection” niche. Red’s serves a blend of Tex-Mex and Southern food and feels a bit like an Austin throwback, and, with the original on South Lamar having opened a decade ago, I guess that descriptor is well earned.
The burger: You might assume there’d be a roster of burgers at a place like Red’s, but the bar-restaurant keeps it to a tight trio. The nicely salted patty, maybe a third-pound, has pre-frozen uniformity but you can detect some beefy flavor from the mix of brisket, chuck and short rib, even if that trio’s robust fattiness hides from detection. The sin of being cooked a shade past the medium advertised on the menu is tempered by the moisture from a uniform spread of tart goat cheese. Flimsy lettuce and faded tomatoes the size of silver dollars don’t add much in the way of flavor, though the dill-speckled mandolin-cut pickles find a way to cut through the sweetness of the bun. Two twirls of buffet-style bacon more jerky than crispy (and carrying a whiff of the eponymous 'smoke') and fried onions with more batter flavor than crunch complete the sensation of eating a room service burger after a late check in. But, hey, it fills you up for drinking, and the burgers are Buy One Get One Free on Wednesdays, so you can save your money for drinkin.
Fries with that: Warm fries from a bag lightly dusted with seasoning powder come at no additional cost.
Locations and contact: 3508 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-440-7337; 4200 Braker Lane. 512-236-5436; 4401 N. I-35, Suite 2002. Round Rock. 512-236-5017, redsporch.com