Survey the exploding Austin barbecue scene and you’ll find popular trailers with outdoor seating and free Lone Star, long lines of devotees and sheets of greasy butcher papered piled high with a tumble of meat. It’s an often sweaty environment. A roll-up-your-sleeves proposition.
West Campus area restaurant and cocktail bar Freedmen’s takes a new approach, with table-service and a refined environment. While they may have a more high-end aesthetic, Freedmen’s, which opened in December, still finds itself looking up at the smoking bastions of barbecue greatness in Austin.
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2402 San Gabriel St. 220-0953, FreedmensBar.com
Rating: 7 out of 10
Hours: 4 p.m. to midnight Monday-Saturday; 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday.
Prices: Sides and bar snacks, $3-$6; charcuterie, $4-$16; barbecue, $6-$9 for single meat, $14 for plate of brisket, pork ribs and sausage. Desserts, $6.
What the rating means: The 10-point scale is an average of weighted scores for food, service, value, ambiance and overall dining experience, with 10 being the best.
The Bottom Line: Freedmen’s brings a touch of sophistication to the Austin barbecue scene but needs to refine its food if it wants to find a spot in Austin’s top tier.
Notes: Reservations for parties of 10 or more paired with customized menu.