The Statesman’s Matthew Odam was dazzled by humble L'Oca d'Oro, a summer Italian-centric addition to the Mueller development. In a city studded with an ever-growing number of Italian restaurants, it takes more than glossy decor, an extensive rosé list, and OMG photogenic dishes to be considered one of the best.
Bucking the trend, L'Oca wows with simple quality ingredients treated with a light touch. And make no mistake: this is by design. Odam explained,
"Chef Fiore Tedesco worked at the lauded Italian restaurant Roberta’s in Brooklyn and iconic meat-slingers Franklin Barbecue, among other standouts, before opening L’Oca d’Oro (translation: Golden Goose) in the Mueller development in June. He brings the restraint and craftsmanship developed at those restaurants to L’Oca d’Oro…"
And yet, this straightforward and thoughtful approach to rustic Italian cuisine allows ingredients to shine and elevates the dishes to near luxury. The lightly dressed pastas "are intended to bring their own flavors to the dishes while maintaining structural integrity and serving as a participatory palette." But don’t stop with pasta:
If it’s a double-take you’re after, check out the Franklin Barbecue veteran’s inventive play on brisket ($25): He brines the Texas wagyu beef, cooks it sous vide and then finishes on the grill for a tight, charred exterior. The meat is compressed in one block, allowing you to do away with the "lean or fatty" question. It’s all right there in one yielding bite of beefy essence.
L'Oca also earned multiple more kudos from Odam for its small plates, which "do their best to show off ingredients," desserts, the rotating selection of wines on tap, and even compounds butters.
The space is peppered with just the right touch of nostalgia and playfulness (think grandma’s wallpaper meets vintage posters meets childhood memorabilia) to complete L'Oca’s memorable experience.
THE BLOGS — Fed Man Walking headed to June’s All Day for burger time, Sushi in the ATX checked out Colorado import Snarf’s Sandwiches’ new South First Street location, and The Smoking Ho took a barbecue expedition to Brenham, Texas for some Truth Barbeque.