First Look: Josephine House

In the midst of the headline-grabbing newly reopened and revamped Jeffery’s of Clarksville, Larry McGuire & Co. also penciled in a time to open Josephine House next door after it underwent a similar makeover. In the past, the spot often served as primarily an event space, but it now serves a full service eatery specializing in drinks and small plates.

Josephine House

Josephine House

Josephine House is undeniably lovely; the nuanced details of the quaint space exemplify casual elegance, and its hard not to be charmed by Jeffery’s WASPy little sister restaurant. In fact, if this review were based on the ambiance alone, Josephine House would have garnered immediate gold stars. But with all its pretty trappings, Josephine House falls flat.

The wine list, though strong, is pricey with nary a glass under $12. The small plates left us wanting something more (and not just because they aren’t exactly filling).  It’s not that they are bad by any means, but one can’t but feel let down from a value perspective. The cheese plate, for example, was a disappointment both on quantity and overall quality, especially at almost $20 a pop. A pair of kale empanadas were fine, saved by a flakey, buttery crust, but otherwise lacked any real flavor. And, considering these plates are suppose to be shared among friends, it’s a little disconcerting to find the heartiest part of the meal is the check.

Cheese Plate - $18

Cheese Plate – $18

Kale Empanadas - $12

Kale Empanadas – $12

At least if the dishes were underwhelming, the service would overcompensate, right? Not so much. Despite being one of four tables at the restaurant, we spent most our meal solving the case of the ever-disappearing server, which actually proved a silver lining because it kept our bill from adding up.

As a sucker for a good atmosphere, it’s disappointing not to have walked away enchanted with Josephine House as I had hoped, but perhaps the newly added Sunday brunch will live up to its promise. Considering Josephine House is an ideal setting for girl’s lunches and parental brunches, however, something tells me I’ll have plenty of opportunities to revisit and reevaluate the Clarksville establishment soon…

Josephine House, 1601 Waterston, Austin, TX 78703. Open daily for lunch (11am-3pm) and Snacks & Drinks (3-10pm). Happy House 5-6pm Monday through Friday.

Josephine House

At least the bread’s good!

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