Austin's Hot New Tuscan eatery
If you are at all in touch with the soft, and delightfully overfed underbelly of Austin, which is to say its food scene then you are doubtlessly acquainted with chef Shawn Cirkiel. Chef Cirkiel is the proprietor of both Parkside and The Backspace, and now his newest restaurant Olive and June. We were recently treated to a night at Olive and June and had quite a night.
Olive and June is located just off of 35th on Glenview Ave, and serves up some fantastic Italian fare. It's a lovely location with a equally lovely interior consisting of three floors and outside deck seating. We were ushered up to the second floor and given a small table (it was just the two of us after all) near the middle of the room which afforded us the opportunity to observe the rest of the guests and the staff. As one would expect the staff was very friendly eager to assist.
We started with the fried ravioli, and the suppli which is fried saffron risotto and mozzarella. These are now easily two my favorite things. I love ravioli, risotto and most things fried. So when you take two of my favorite things and fry them, you have created a winning dish in my book. The next time I come back I will start with both of these.
Next up was the salad, we opted for the escarole. This is served with pancetta and a fried egg. All I had to see was that it came with a fried egg, and the deal was sealed for me. How can you not love a food that makes its own sauce? Our waitress also suggested the pickled beets. If you are a lover of beets, then these are worth a try. An excellent recommendation on the part of our waitress.
We also had the grilled swordfish and the short rib papparedelle. The papparedelle was good, but the real standout for us was the swordfish. This was easily one of the best pieces of fish I've had in a long time. Perfectly cooked and nicely accompanied with lemon, pistachio, capers and mint. .
To finish we decided on the chocolate zabaglione, but were also given the bombolini (it was the soft opening event after all). The zabaglione was fantastic and so rich I was glad to have help finishing it. The bombolini were also delicious. Little Tuscan doughnuts served atop house made nutella, with candied orange zest, and orange mascarpone. We washed it all down with a very nice cappuccino.
Ordinarily, we don't feel it's fair to rate a new restaurant based on a soft opening event. After all, the whole point of an event like this is to help work out some of the kinks. But we were able to sample enough of the menu that I feel I can confidently give a rating to Olive and June. And Chef, if you happen to read this please give our complements not only to the kitchen but to the front of the house as well. Customer service is a huge part of an evening out and your wait staff seems to have it down.
Official AFJ rating- 4 Points of the Lone Star.