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Austin Critics Visit LaV, Olamaie, and More

Odam calls LaV a fine dining game-changer, Texas Monthly gives Olamaie a glowing first look, and The Chronicle is underwhelmed by Aroma Italian Kitchen


Matthew Odam gives East 7th's LaV a glowing rave this week for The Statesman. The restaurant's sophisticated wine list, well-executed Mediterranean cuisine and lush atmosphere garners a 9 out of 10. On a few choice entrees:

Grilled whole black sea bass, with its flaky, charred skin enlivened by charred lemon, was a master class in Mediterranean simplicity ($32), an accompanying tapenade of raisins, peppers and eggplant providing a sweet and earthy complement. More eggplant arrived alongside tender lamb T-bones ($31) I picked clean while finishing with my hands.

Texas Monthly names upscale Southern newcomer Olamaie Pat's Pick for October. Yes, critic Pat Sharpe is very, very into the biscuits. On the salad of Maryland crabmeat:

Creamy lumps of crab sat atop Carolina rice middlins (broken grains) with a dollop of mousse-like corn pudding on top, all decorated with popped sorghum grains (they look just like miniature popcorn). When the mousse melts into the rice, you'd swear you were eating a fantastic risotto. But just to keep things from getting too fancy, your server brings a small bottle of Tabasco to the table, so everybody can season the dish to their heart's content.

For The Chronicle, Virginia Wood visits Aroma Italian Kitchen on South Lamar. The new Italian restaurant, with a focus on Neapolitan pizza serves a solid menu but disappoints with a "service nightmare" at lunch:

Though our server made enthusiastic suggestions about appetizers, he didn't feel the need to write down our order, which was surely a contributing factor in the comedy of errors that followed. We ordered three appetizers, one salad, a pizza for the table, and entrées for everyone. Then we waited in an all-but-empty restaurant.

Chronicle contributor Mick Vann also praises new Mexican ice cream shop Michoacana Natural Ice Cream Shop. In addition to paletas, mangonadas and other Mexican treats, they make great ice cream:

My first tub of three large scoops ($4.75) included a sinfully rich, gelato-like dulce de leche that was the best ice cream I've eaten in a long, long time. The pecan flavor was so nut-rich, it was almost like eating a bowl of pecans with ice cream melted over the top.

THE BLOGS: Forks Up is impressed by Olamaie, Hungry Girl Austin digs Fork & Taco, and Burger Mary recommends the pulled pork at Blue Ox.

1501 E. 7th St.