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Austin Critics Visit Thai Kun and Italic

Fiery Thai and homey Italian.

Robert J. Lerma/EATX
Nadia Chaudhury is the editor of Eater Austin covering food and pop culture, as well as a photographer, writer, and frequent panel moderator and podcast guest.

Statesman critic Matthew Odam prepped for Thai Kun’s spicy dishes outside Whisler’s with plenty of water. The East Side King outpost serves what chef Thai Changthong refers to as “beer food.” His specific take on the cuisine is best shown with the beef panang curry, which:

[...] exemplifies the heat and tradition inherent in Changthong’s cooking. The beef simmers for hours in a spicy curry that comes on with a savory glow before spreading its radiant heat that lingers like vapor. Served over fragrant jasmine rice, the curry is cooled slightly by the gentle breeze of kaffir lime leaf and holy basil. The heat somehow doesn’t annihilate the flavor profiles, but rather enhances and enlivens them.

Despite the loudness of the stiff and chilly space, Chronicle’s Brandon Watson found out what Italian rustic food means at Italic. While there are some entrees to skip (goat cheese baked penne, Carolina white shrimp, pork leg), it’s the heavier meals that shine, like the pasta selection:

The hefty slab of lasagna ($14) was a Garfield fever dream, blistering with cheese and enriched by soppressata. The fregola ($12), a pasta shape similar to Israeli couscous, mostly eschewed heavier proteins for cockles, but still had a clinging slick of oil and prosciutto. There, a spritz of lemon and spring onion kept the dish from being bogged down.

THE BLOGS: A Taste of Koko delved into the shaved ice options at SnoLabs, Forks Up just missed a wait for Launderette's decadent brunch, South Austin Foodie liked everything except for the rice at Guantanamera, and, no surprise, there were more tacos for Fed Man Walking’s Mike Sutter.


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