This week, Brandon Watson asked the question on everyone’s mind in The Chronicle: Does Austin need another Italian restaurant? The answer is maybe not. Despite the space’s beauty, service was often off because of the crowded rooms and, overall, the food was mostly just fine with some missteps. Desserts, though, by pastry chef Carly Rossmeissl, saved the meal:
Her inspirations are classic (cheesecake, tiramisu, olive oil cake), but the execution is nothing but contemporary. The torta di olio oliva ($7) has a bracing blackberry thyme sorbetto on top. The torta di ricotta ($9) doesn't overdo it with richness, and the tiramisu ($8) is a parfait served with two fluffs of toasted meringue.
Jolene Bounchon explored the artful tasting menus of Counter 3.Five.VII’s for Austin Monthly this issue. With no waitstaff, chefs served the three, five, or seven dishes, which made it easier to learn about the composition and backstory of every ingredient on the plate.
Such access to the chefs also allows you to learn that in addition to smoked pork jowl, you’ll also get to try cockscomb in your koshihikari rice because the supplier happened into some unexpectedly and asked if the chefs would like to try it. Of course! Tasting somewhat like a tender and gelatinous bite of chicken, the interplay of the cockscomb (the fleshy red part on top of a rooster’s head) and smoked pork with the rice (a Japanese short-grained variety with a sweet flavor), studded with fresh peas and pea tendrils and made rich with creme fraiche, combined for a delightful textural tumult halfway between congee and risotto.
THE BLOGS: Mad Betty prepped for a trip to China with Chen Z, Forks Up enjoyed a cocktail from The Townsend, Brisket and Bagels explored the sausages at Banger’s, and Mike Sutter dined on a very decadent duck confit taco on a duck fat tortilla from Garcon’s, among others in his taco travels.