If you want to hear a little about Italic itself, go ahead and skip down a few paragraphs, because this is going to take a while. For about a month now I’ve been dreaming about these itty bitty baby sandwiches. I’m drooling just a little as we speak. Ever since chef Andrew Curren teased us with a taste in February at One by One TX, where I subsequently had – well let’s say 8 is a modest estimate – these little sandwiches were all I could talk about among the glut of restaurant openings in early 2015. There was prosciutto – the culprit that thwarted my foolish attempt to be vegan however many years ago – there was biscotti, there was cheese and drink galore. But I couldn’t get these beautifully simple sandwiches out of my head. Because as I gushed to the Italic reps present at the preview about just how right they’d gotten these sandwiches, how I couldn’t wait for Italic to open, they hit me with the big one: they’re free at happy hour.
In case you missed it, let me say it again: they’re free at happy hour.
I’ve only dreamed about this adjective/noun combination appearing in the same sentence. Free. At. Happy Hour. It’s the simple things that make me happy. Like the no-frills combination of ham, arugula, spread, and focaccia. And the fact that this little sandwich bite is free.
Hopefully I’ve made my point, because there’s a lot more than just the sandwich that happy hour at Italic does right.
Plenty of quality restaurants have happy hours, and while their food, drinks, and service are great, their discounted items are pitiful and you might as well just stay for dinner and get the dish you really want. Sorry, you’re not going to get me in early with a “$1 off a $30 bottle of wine” special. But Italic avoids this trap while maintaining the superior quality of their items. The real winner in this category is the prosciutto board, which comes with a sliced loaf from Easy Tiger, which is almost half off during happy hour. The baked ricotta is half off, and they have two small plates for $3 each, of which the marinated olives have a clever citrus twist.
The beer list is already more than reasonably priced for a quality establishment, and add to that $1 off draughts you’ve got a happy hour for anyone. But personally I’d go to share a carafe of the house wine for $4 a glass. (Note: the carafe, priced at $16, serves about 4 glasses. No ‘bulk’ discount, but hey, a carafe feels kind of European, n’est-ce pas?). If you’re feeling super fancy, I’ve heard amazing things about Craig Collins, Italic’s sommelier, and just look at that badass lofted wine cooler!
I’ll admit, ricotta isn’t really my thing, so I wasn’t exactly blown away by the baked ricotta dish. But the price and the presentation in a bed of arugula and a mix of pink and golden beets made it irresistible to try.
Italic brands its signature cocktail, the negroni, as a ticket to traditional Italian luxury. Unfortunately, I think the negroni is going to have to join oysters and whiskey in the group of “things I desperately want to like, but absolutely can’t stand.” It just looks so damn classy, but the bitterness is wholly overpowering to a palate unaccustomed to a truly stiff drink.
That’s not to say Italic makes a bad negroni! It’s one of those situations where you can tell that it’s made with quality ingredients, and should the consumer like negronis, Italic’s would surely be a favorite. But, like ricotta, it’s just not my thing.
Tucked on a quiet stretch of downtown, Italic is a welcome addition to ELM’s 6th St. empire. If you couldn’t tell already, Italic has made the best of list for its amazing happy hour, and the dinner menu looks stellar as well. Of all the restaurants opening in 2015, Italic is not to be missed.
Italic Happy Hour: Monday – Friday 4:30-6:30
123 W. Sixth Street, Austin, TX 78701
$1 off draught beers, $4 glass of house wine, $16 carafe, $8 negroni
$3 rosemary nuts, $3 marinated olives, $5 baked ricotta, $10 prosciutto di san daniele
free focaccia sandwich bites
Unrelated: check out my caption contest on instagram, find my latest fish picture and win free sushi!