If you drive about fifty minutes out of Austin, there is a tiny town called Briarcliff, Texas. In this little town you will find a restaurant called The Lighthouse on the Lake.
It’s appropriately named, as it comes equipped with a large red and white lighthouse. This lighthouse is indeed on the lake, and it all makes for quite the view. But this view was only the beginning of my love affair for this brand new eatery.
Let me tell you more about said love affair.
The first thing I was greeted with was a fun and friendly staff. I was guided to the spacious patio and made sure to take in those spectacular views before getting to work on the menu. Something you should probably know about me – I judge a restaurant on their queso. I don’t care what type of cuisine the restaurant serves, if they have queso on the menu, I expect them to deliver. I also judge restaurants on their ranch dressing, but I digress. The very first thing I ordered at The Lighthouse was queso, and they definitely did deliver. Rich and creamy white cheese with just the right amount of veggies, and I knew from here that I had so much more to look forward to.
Next was the Squeaky Shrimp. This was shrimp wrapped in bacon and stuffed with jalapeno and coated with a homemade dragon sauce. Yum, y’all. The textures and flavors of the shrimp and bacon paired magically with the slightly tart, slightly sweet dragon sauce. The slight spice and crunch of the jalapeno completed this sumptuous dish.
The pina colada paired perfectly with my appetizers. The fresh and creamy coconut flavors were far from your typical bar-made pina colada, and made for an absolutely ideal lake-lounging cocktail.
The entrees came out all at once, leaving me with the best kind of sensory overload. Let me try to explain this feast without drooling. No promises, y’all.
The Robin’s Nest is a burger topped with bleu cheese, a fried egg and a whopper of a house-made onion ring. This gorgeous combination of flavors had me ooh-ing and ah-ing out loud.
I’m still feeling star-struck by the tequila shrimp. That tequila lime sauce was decadent and creamy and paired so perfectly with the cilantro citrus rice.
The Shipwreck was one of the most insane things I’ve ever had the joy of eating. Fried chicken, homemade blueberry jam, bacon, lettuce, tomato and oh yeah, a patty of fried ham and cream cheese. See?! Insane. The flavors made for an absolutely mesmerizing combination. It’s like a Monte Carlo but even less healthy and more delicious. Oops, I’m drooling now.
The spaghetti and meatballs is the signature dish at Lighthouse, and I know what you may be thinking. Can a restaurant make delicious queso AND a delicious burger AND delicious spaghetti?! I wondered the same thing. I’m happy to report that yes, yes they can. I am extremely picky about my spaghetti and meatballs, and this dish more than lived up to my high expectations.
I was so impressed by the Lighthouse on the Lake, partly due to the fact that they were able to deliciously meld so many different cuisines onto one menu. There is truly something for everyone to enjoy at this restaurant, and the variety of choices does not mean that any area is skimped on.
When I asked owner Robin how they managed this, he replied that, despite the differences, many of the same quality ingredients were used again and again. Along with fresh ingredients and innovative recipes, it is this quality that is the main focus at the Lighthouse. Usually with lakeside restaurants I expect to go for the views and a mediocre-at-best meal. This is not the case at the Lighthouse. There was not a bite of this tasting (and oh man, did I taste a lot.) that did not blow me away.
The Lighthouse also has a coffee-bar area perfect for working or studying whilst drinking coffee, and a bar area great for locals (and appropriately named ‘The Local’) I can vouch for their tasty and refreshing cocktails, but didn’t get around to trying the coffee. Still, I’d be willing to be it’s as full of flavor, quality and personality as the rest of the menu. They don’t believe in serving anything less at the Lighthouse.