The Chronicle's Brandon Watson checked in at Al Fico and found little to love and a lot of missed possibilities. From the disconnect between the accessible menu and uncomfortable chairs to the promise of big flavor that never delivers, Watson discovered a restaurant struggling to negotiate the distance from concept to execution. Many items disappointingly bland to him, like the grilled sardines and the seafood zuppa. The same went for the zampone, where the "oomph" got lost in "the earthy swell of green lentils." The greater sin, though, were errors in preparation.
Al Fico's burrata ($11) had some nice bells and whistles in the gently smoked beets and pistachio pesto–great additions to the cheese's textural and gustatory neutrality. But, as with a well-poached egg, the pleasures of burrata are in the ooze. Unfortunately, Al Fico's version required a little excavation before hitting the cream and curds.
All is not lost, though, as he enjoyed the mezzalune and honeycomb tripe.
THE BLOGS: South Austin Foodie visits Pinthouse Pizza on South Lamar. Everyone else is still on winter break.