cover3By ntdooley [Email address: ntdooley #AT# - replace #AT# with @ ]" target="_blank">Nathan Dooley

I’ll admit it, I miss Flores Mexican Restaurant at The Village on Anderson Lane. My wife Laura and I weren’t regulars there, but we ate there for one of our first meals after we moved to Austin, and we were sad to see it close. The former Flores space has finally been put to use, though: a new restaurant called Cover 3 opened in November.

A couple of weeks after Cover 3 opened, Laura and I returned to the location with two kids in tow. Just walking into the restaurant was a very different experience from Flores; the old restaurant has clearly been gutted and entirely refinished. Cover 3 has stylized rectangular lines, abundant flat-screen TVs, and a higher-end menu. In addition to the plentiful dining seating, which consists largely of booths, there is also a bar area and a separate upstairs lounge.

When we arrived (before 6:00 pm on a Thursday) the bar was hopping with happy hour patrons. This made for a very loud bar area, and we were hungry, so we opted to sit at a dinner table instead. Even in the dining section, flat-screen TVs were in abundance, along with a projection screen showing four sports channels at once. Although we were surrounded by sporting events, the television sound was muted, and mid-tempo pop/rock music played in the background.

Although the restaurant offers an extensive wine list, I opted to start with a Shiner Bock. Laura made a much more adventurous choice: a strawberry basil lemonade cocktail. When the drinks came, my beer was cold and, well, just plain beer. Laura’s cocktail, on the other hand, was a smooth-sipping but potent fizzy concoction.

The menu is pricey: sandwiches start at $11 and entrees at $14. At my insistence, we started with The Triple, an appetizer served in three connected bowls holding guacamole, white queso dip, and garlic salsa. The guacamole was creamy, light, and fresh. The queso included roasted onions and peppers and was much heavier, hardening well before we were done picking at it. The salsa had a light, almost gazpacho-like consistency, with a subtle pepper bite. The appetizer also included fresh tortilla chips served in a conical basket, which were tasty but relatively few.

For our main dishes, Laura ordered the Chop House Burger, which is a tasty half-pounder with cheese, bacon and shoestring fries. I chose the Pacific Ahi Tuna Burger, served with sliced avocado, greens, and shoestring fries. Both were cooked to our specifications and quite enjoyable, although the tuna burger was a bit salty.

The entrees for our two children presented a bit of an issue, since there is no kids’ menu. Fortunately, the issue didn’t last long, since the kids agreed to share an order of three beef tenderloin sliders (basically, small burgers). They enjoyed the sandwiches so much that  they finished every bite. And the accompanying shoestring fries got an even better review from our five-year-old: “I just can’t stop eating these fries!”

The fries were indeed quite tasty and unusual, topped with parmesan cheese and fresh chopped chives. In fact, Laura enjoyed her fries so well, she suggested titling this article “The Fries of Texas!”

Although the restaurant offers a few different desserts, we were already stuffed from our sandwiches, so we didn’t get a chance to sample anything sweet. Maybe next time!

Overall, the service was quick and attentive, and the restaurant would make a perfect choice for a couple who can’t decide between watching the big game and having a nice dinner.