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Get thee to Fino!

February 21, 2007

Oh, internets, how can I express my love for Fino? Have I written about this place before? If not, shame on me. It’s only one of my favorite restaurants in Austin.

I’ve been there with girlfriends and groups, as well as alone with my love…and every time, it has been wonderful. I love that I can choose between lots of small dishes, tasting just a bit of each flavor. I love that the menu changes seasonally, and that the bar offers cocktails with real culinary accents (like an orange-tarragon mojito, for example).

And now I have a new reason to love Fino: Spanish Night. Every Tuesday evening, a set “dinner for two” menu is offered for a grand total of $55 ($80 if you’d like wine pairings). Friends, that’s a steal. Justin and I have decided that we will be at Fino every Tuesday from now on. We spoke with Chef Emmett Fox, who says that the menu will change every week, which makes me supremely happy.

Last night we feasted on a shared first plate, Serrano Wrapped Quail on a Spicy Tomato Stew. The quail was stuffed with chorizo and housemade croutons.. I loved the saltiness of the Serrano ham with the smoothness of the quail.

Next we each had a Grilled Vegetable and Potato Salad with Hard-Boiled Egg, White Anchovy, and Cumin Oil. Oh my, this was good. It was a huge pile of roasted bell peppers, tomatoes, and onions, dressed with the simplest oil and topped with a single anchovy fillet. (The anchovy was a bit disconcerting to look at, but tasted great.)

We decided on the Fideo special for our main course, which came to the table in a cast-iron skillet. The toasted vermicelli was mixed with clams, marinated pork, and roasted bell peppers, and was topped with the most perfect garlic aioli.

For dessert, we shared a White Chocolate Yogurt Bavarian with Passionfruit Saffron Gelee in a Champagne Passionfruit Soup. The yogurt flavor really came through in the Bavarian, and the passionfruit element really carried the dish. Oddly enough, my favorite part was the tiny bit of pistachio brittle sitting atop the dessert.

I also have to mention that the Sangria (offered half-price on Tuesdays, at $3.50 a glass) was delicious, as was the mojito (though I opted for a nonalcholic version). I love that the menu is already set out…it eliminates the stress of choosing the perfect dishes. I am so happy to have found this wonderful weeknight special…we will definitely be there every Tuesday we can.

See you at Fino!

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