As our dear followers know, we were broken hearted during our initial trip to Hill Country Chicken. Fork and Spoon have always been big fans of Hill Country, and were, sadly, not big fans of Hill Country Chicken.
We always send a copy of our review to the owners or general information emails of the restaurants we review. We’ve always thought it important for the powers that be to know what diners actually think about the doings inside a restaurant and not just what the ‘sheep’ tend to bleat about.
We immediately heard back from John & Marc at HCC. They were as disappointed as we were, and yet grateful for the constructive criticism. We promised to come back and give HCC a second try. And we are so glad that we did!
Fork and Spoon dragged Knork and Spork with us on this Adventure. Occasionally we drag them out of moth balls to come along. They think it’s because we love them – not so (well, mostly so), it’s so we can try more dishes!
Truth be told, we were a little nervous about returning. Perhaps there was a photo of a fork and knife behind the counter with a red circle and slash through the tines. Perhaps they were laying in wait for us to return so they could just pounce, bend our tines and throw lemons at us.
Nothing could have been further from the truth. We were treated well and welcomed warmly. There were plenty of lemons and butter at hand. Service was impeccable. Staff was fabulous.
But, more importantly, the food was fabulous. Each and every morsel we ate was better than the previous morsel.
The chicken, as we had said in our last review, is just stellar. We are partial to the Hill Country Classic. The seasoning is is so great. It is spicy with a hint of sweetness. The chicken is floured twice and then sprinkled with the magic dust. Mama’s El’s, on the other hand, is skinless, battered and fried. The Classic is not crunchy, but from what I have been told, the Mama El’s is very crunchy – hard to believe without skin (oh, another trip in our future?) Whichever you try, know that each and every piece, whether white or dark, is juicy, moist and flavorful.
On this visit, because Knork is seriously strange about fried chicken, we also tried the Texas Tenders. They are gigantic! They are moist and tender inside, crispy outside. They are absolutely fabulous! They come with a choice of dipping sauces, one better than the next, all made in house – honey mustard, HC BBQ sauce or buttermilk ranch. You will find yourself dipping everything into the sauces!
Fork and Spoon still think the biscuits are slightly on the dry side, but I am beginning to think that biscuits are subjective. I prefer mine moister and fluffier, but that’s the way my grandmother made them. Biscuits around the country are made differently and made for different reasons. Some to eat along side something and some to hold up to gravy. Dry or not, the biscuits are flavorful, the right amount of saltiness. Great with butter, with honey or dipped into the BBQ sauce!
Off to the sides! The Mashed Potatoes were the first thing tried. What a difference! The toppings were perfect and distinguishable! Gooey with cheddar cheese, crispy pieces of bacon and pimento, topped the light and fluffy mashed potatoes. They transformed from the side we couldn’t eat to the side we couldn’t stop eating.
The Cole Slaw was crisp and the dressing creamy. The dressing was perfectly seasoned. The cabbage in the slaw fresh as can be. We tried the Carrot-N-Raisin Slaw this time around. Really yummy. Sweet, without being cloyingly sweet. Crispy carrots, great dressing, and the plump raisins giving it that little bit of oomph. The two slaws are like a refreshing palate cleanser against the saltiness of the chicken.
We again tried the Blistered Corn Salad. Again, like a whole new ball game. The corn was crisp, the veggies were too. The veggies stood out on their own, but did not make the blistered corn flavor disappear. THe dressing was good, a little tang, which is always great on a corn salad.
Fire n Ice Pickles. These are made in-house. They are little rounds of perfection. Sweet, hot, cooling, torturous all in one bite. An absolute must have at HCC – and for the price, who could possibly argue!
PIE! PIE! P-I-E! PIE! We tried pie. Lots and lots of pie! Well, you can try lots and lots of pie when your pies are little – and yes, we can justify our pies by saying we ate little pies!
We had Apple Cheddar. Great crust made with cheddar cheese. Knork is a serious apple pie guy and he gave this 2 thumbs up. The filling was perfect, apples were not mushy, just enough sweetness, barely discernible flavor from the cheddar cheese in the crust. Just enough for you to notice but not too over powering.
We had Lemon Meringue. Spork would barely let anyone else try it. Spoon gave Spork a little jab with a fork and Spork became far more compliant with sharing. Nice and lemony, good crust, and let’s not forget the perfectly browned meringue topping. Great proportion in flavor from tangy to sweet.
We had Double Cherry Pie, Fork’s personal favorite. Again, great crust, perfect filling, really yummy topping. Everything just fit together so well.
We had Banana Cream Pie. Creamy filling, sweet bananas, whipped cream topping. Almost too pretty to eat. ALMOST!
It was strongly suggested to us to try the Salted Margarita Pie. This was in a pretzel crust, so you already had some salty sweet going on. The filling was so tart and limey that you couldn’t smile while eating it because you were so puckered. Don’t get me wrong, this was DAMN good pie!
There was also a beautiful little Pumpkin Pie. Sadly, we are not pumpkin pie people. But if the rest of the pies were any indication, this would be one fine pumpkin pie!
It’s great that they have Boylan soda in the fountain. The mint iced tea is really good and really fresh. Both the soda and tea are bottomless. There were plenty of lemons to be had.
Marc, you have done your grandmothers both proud! John, Marc & David, thank you so much for taking our concerns to heart! We have been converted and can’t wait to come back again and again! Now the problem becomes – chicken, brisket, chicken, brisket, how does one choose!?