Tex-Mex and steakhouses may be the Texas standard, but when it comes to Austin’s growing culinary scene there are many cuisines challenging that tradition. Italian food is one of the most popular cuisines across America, yet in Austin we lack authentic options.
Only in the last five to ten years have we seen an increase in authentic Italian pizza locally, but Italian food is much more than just pizza. Finally, Red Ash Italia offers dishes that highlight both northern and southern Italian styles of cooking. Here’s what awaits you when you visit Austin’s Red Ash Italia.
Red Ash Italia Offers Modern Yet Comfortable Atmosphere
Whether you love or hate Austin’s laid-back style, it’s nice to be able to enjoy a night on the town without worrying about what shoes you’re wearing. Even so, local fashion doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy a fancy night out. Red Ash Italia is the perfect balance for both moods: a place where you can go after a long day at the office, or where you take your special someone for a date.
The open kitchen design gives guests an exciting look into how their food is prepared. It’s quite impressive, with its large, wood-burning oven and grill.
Always Order Appetizers
You should always order appetizers when trying a restaurant for the first time. It’s a great way to sample lots of dishes without overeating. I didn’t skimp on appetizers during my night out at Red Ash Italia.
Start with the in-house Country Italian Bread. It’s a must for the table to share and the perfect balance of crunchy crust and chewy inside loaded with fresh garlic. My Italian mother would be so proud. Next, I tried the Beef Carpaccio–a popular northern Italian appetizer. Traditionally made with a lemon marinade, Red Ash Italia’s version adds a bit of spiciness with a horseradish crema. I love the unique taste of this dish.
The next small dish I tried was Wood Grilled Octopus, which was one of my favorites. The octopus is grilled to perfection on the open wood grill and the smoked pancetta braised beans complement the spicy octopus.
The final small dish I tried was the Roasted Beets, Orange & Fennel Salad. I fondly remember my mother making this traditional southern Italian salad and was excited to see it on the menu. Red Ash Italia once again put their unique mark on the dish by adding beets.
Main Courses With Big Flavors
A prime example of Central Italian cuisine is pappardelle, a traditional egg-based noodle. Red Ash Italia’s homemade pappardelle is topped with a wild boar bolognese. This was another favorite dish of mine because who doesn’t love homemade pasta?
The last traditional dish I was excited to try was Osso Bucco. This traditional dish from Milan includes another Milanese favorite: risotto. Braised in white wine and broth, the plate is slow-cooked in the wood-fired oven. The Red Ash Italia version adds a touch of lemon zest to accompany the perfectly cooked veal and saffron rice.
Life’s Too Short–Eat Dessert First
Wouldn’t life be better if we ate dessert first? With Red Ash Italia’s selection, you may find yourself going in for a sweet nightcap often. I opted for the delicious Olive Oil Cake with orange zest, pistachios and mascarpone cream. If you only have room for one dessert, this is the one to choose.
Whether you’re looking for a new happy hour spot in downtown Austin or want more Italian food in your life, Red Ash Italia should be next on your list.
Colorado Tower, 303 Colorado St. #200 – Website
@jpino9 wants to know:
What’s your favorite Italian dish?
Disclosure: I was treated to a complimentary media tasting for the purposes of this review. All opinions are my own.