The times are few and far between but every so often we wish we pulled in a good 100k plus a year so we could try new restaurants on the East Side of Austin like Zandunga Bistro.

Has it already been a year since the Torres family of Mi Madre’s fame introduced extravagantly priced Mexican food to East Austin?

We became aware of their one year anniversary this morning when we were looking at Austin’s Eater website where Zandunga owner Christina Torres dishes on “enlightening Austin with something besides Tex-Mex.” While we don’t doubt that Mrs. Torres is the Baruch Spinoza of East Austin we’re happy just muddling along in the old, dark ages where we eat delicious homemade Mexican food all over town without breaking the bank at places like Habanero Mexican Cafe, La Reyna, Takoba and El Meson.

And still have a few dollars to visit a local pub and drink a pint or two of Live Oak.

Yet still we wonder….

We’d love to know what goes into Zandunga’s $18 desebrada plate that makes it two to three times what the competition charges.

We’re also curious about their $20 rendition of carnitas that hopefully involves a Mangalitsa hog smuggled into East Austin in a suitcase brought straight from Hungary by one of their chefs.

But nothing on their menu can possibly touch the $9 guacamole appetizer for sheer chutzpah.

We eat gallons of the stuff each year in Austin and the best in town for nearly a decade has been the pluperfect version that El Zunzal puts out for two bucks.

Made per order, served estillo Salvadorena or Mexicano, it’s simply the finest version in our city.

But we are nearly hypnotized at the thought of what sort of extravagant ingredients must be in Zandunga’s version to warrant their hefty price tag. Matsutake mushrooms? Densuke watermelons? Almas caviar?

Any high rollers reading who’d care to comment on this precious green appetizer that routinely sells around town for a third to half of what Zandunga charges?

As for their $18 pork chop we’re still just fine a la carte-ing the one at La Reyna for a buck seventy five add on to our platillo du jour.

When La Condesa introduced their “emperor wears no clothes” version of profligately expensive Mexican food to downtown a couple years back we knew that other restaurateurs would take note.

We just didn’t reckon on East Austin being where they’d set up shop.

read the interview on Eater

1000 E 11th St

Austin, TX


(512) 473-4199

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