East Austin’s 11th Street Station gives soul food its spirit

Zach Miller

11th Street Station Restaurant & Bar opened just two weeks ago, but by the look of the lunch crowd, it could have been in business for years. The restaurant is doing a great job at helping East Austin hit its soul-food quota.

There is more to the 11th Street Station than the soul food — the ambiance also suggests a down-home vibe. The warm colors of the walls are complemented by paintings dedicated to the soul culture, including one of blues singer Etta James.

There won’t be much debate over what to order because the menu is filled with classics such as fried catfish, warm and fluffy corn bread and chicken and waffles. Catfish may be its specialty, but 11th Street Station also offers fried chicken, sausage and burgers.

It’s always nice to see food that comes to you looking almost too good to eat. Even if the tilapia were to taste terrible, at least it looked fantastic on the plate. Luckily, at 11th Street Station, the tilapia is just as good to eat as it is to look at.

The blackened tilapia is an exquisite pairing of flavors. The fish isn’t too fishy and the spices aren’t too spicy. Nothing about the dish is overpowering, which is a surprising delight when ordering a heavily seasoned cut of fish.

The broccoli salad was a great addition to the tilapia. It was basically an amped-up potato salad that featured small pieces of raw broccoli. The broccoli was complemented well by the onions and dressing in the salad. The restaurant also serves traditional sides such as macaroni or fries.

One of the selling points of the restaurant is its ability to serve soul food that isn’t too greasy but still maintains a powerful flavor — for example, the chicken wings are both light and tasty.

This is a great place to go to if divinely delicious food is all that will satisfy your palate and your wallet doesn’t mind losing an extra dollar or two.

WHAT: 11th Street Station Restaurant & Bar
WHERE: 1050 E. 11th St., Ste. 100
HOURS: Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-midnight; Sunday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
WHAT TO GET: Blackened tilapia and broccoli salad