ITAL Business Directory: ITALIC
by Miguel Talamo - Ital Intern
I am a third generation Italian Venezuelan; my grandfather was born in Teggiano, a small town in the province of Salerno. Growing up, every once in a while the whole family would get together in his house for dinner. The flavors I experienced during those meals have been extremely rare for me to find anywhere else.
With that in mind, I’ve taken it upon myself to explore Austin in the quest for a good, authentic Italian meal that would remind me of my nonno’s home. Looking through the many options that the city offers, I stumbled upon “Italic” in downtown. The website looked promising, so I decided to pay them a visit.
Walking through the 6th street, a block west of Congress Ave, it’s hard to miss the bright yellow sign with the word “Italic” popping out of the gray walls. Upon entering the front door, I asked myself two questions: Could this be authentic Italian food? And if so, how good could it be?
The first test Italic was able to successfully pass was the one of hospitality. Many times a young face like mine might make a server want to avoid that customer. This was very different from what I experienced at Italic. I was quickly seated and presented with the menu; furthermore, my server was very kind to explain the different plates and suggest a few recommendations. This made me feel truly welcomed.
Now let’s talk about the food.
From homemade pasta to wood fired pizza, the menu looked very attractive.
In my experience, Italian food is all about combining simple and delicate flavors to create a culinary explosion. When my grandfather would make any plate, he would grab only the best and most essential ingredients and toss them together with a little bit of olive oil and a pinch of salt… To my pleasant surprise, Italic also knew that freshness and simple execution are key in Italian Cuisine.
For the antipasto, I ordered a Burrata. My father is a cheese maker so as a child he introduced me to the wonders of quality cheese. Burrata in particular should be crafted with cow or buffalo milk and it must have a soft and creamy consistency that stays firm enough to maintain the shape of a sphere. In this particular case, the delicateness of the fresh burrata and the excellent preparation of the vegetables underneath, turned this simple plate into an exquisite array of flavors.
For my primo (and only main dish) I decided to go for the hand-made potato gnocchi. I admit I was skeptical when my eyes caught the price. I asked myself: Could this plate of gnocchi be really worth $20?
With the price in mind my expectations were high, but when I started eating they were immediately met and exceeded. This plate became one of the best dishes I’ve had in Austin. It was a festival of colors and textures. So gentle yet equally exciting, the flavors felt warm and familiar, almost as if I had tried them before. I kept repeating to myself while eating: “Wow, this is the Italian I know”.
My grandfather would always repeat this saying to me whenever we ate together:
“Se hai mangiato bene, dillo fuori. Se hai mangiato male, dillo dentro”
Translated, this would mean, “If you ate well, say it out loud. If you ate badly, keep it to yourself”.
Therefore, I am confident saying out loud: If you want to try great Italian food, visit Italic.
If you walk into Italic hoping to have just a nice meal, you are bound to be disappointed in the best of ways, because the food here does not settle for “nice”, it goes for excellent.
Or so I humbly think.
ITALIC - 123 W 6th St, Austin, TX 78701
photo credits: Miguel Talamo and Italic