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El Gringo Bites the Dust

rollledspleen Jun 28, 2007 06:18 PM

Called El Gringo about dinner tonight and was told it was closed. Red House bar is still open and was where my call was routed. The woman on the phone said it was going to reopen on Monday as an Italian restaurant, but she didn't have any other details.

Does anyone else have any further details? That was a quick death for El Gringo, but Italian in that part of town if it is good.

  1. uarent May 24, 2008 10:06 AM

    I lived in Italy for 4 years, so my standards for Italian food are higher than average. Before Stortini, I regularly complained that Austin didn't have any medium-priced Italian food that was good. I can't complain any more. I've been to Stortini a number of times and have been pleased each time. Good riddance to El Gringo.

    1. t
      tony1000 May 6, 2008 10:20 PM

      I went to Stortini's expecting some decent Italian food and was blown away. I tried the pescatore and was not disappointed, but when I saw my friend eating the pasta with rabbit I had to order it myself. It was as good as my Italian grandmother's "cognilio" - juicy and rich.
      The service was attentive and the price was very reasonable.
      When I'm in Austin again I'll be sure to eat at Stortini's again. This time I can't wait to try as much of the menu as I can.

      1. t
        thompson Jul 27, 2007 09:18 AM

        It's called Stortini!

        makes me want to call it "Snortini"

        1. s
          sesmaeball Jul 13, 2007 02:02 PM

          Unfortunately, I ate at the new Italian place a few nights ago...if you thought El Gringo was bad, wait 'til you taste this. The calamari wasn't all that bad, but the pasta, salad and bread were. The menu is uninspiring and, I'm soryy, but there's no excuse for serving such a bad salad. It is, after all, A SALAD!

          1. i
            infinitstars Jul 12, 2007 12:16 PM

            I agree with most on here, I went to El Gringo once and found it too pretentious and the food didnt impress me one bit. The prices made me feel I was in Aquarelle without the down to earth wait staff, the delicious food and the cozy feel. In other words, only the prices reminded me of a good restaurant.

            1. austx03 Jun 30, 2007 06:56 AM

              I ate there 5 or 6 times and always had great food there. They had a pate appetizer the was terrific as were the oysters. Also liked the stuffed pork, the duck and the nightly specials. I'm looking forward to their new venture with Italian and wish them luck. I agree that part of town is in need of that type of restaurant.

              8 Replies
              1. re: austx03
                tastybite Jul 5, 2007 08:02 AM

                i recommend giving the spot a second chance, and am willing to say i was never a big fan of the original menu at el gringo. one of the chefs, kristine kittrel does italian like no other cuisine, and the menu they're re-opening with is a pet one she's had in her head for years.
                i've tried a few things on the menu in the past week. white-bean puree on toasts is simple and delicious comfort food, both the rabbit pasta and the mushroom pasta are completely to die for (i've gorged myself on both), and there is an appetizer with fried polenta, sausage, and fig preserves that is sweet, salty, creamy, and crispy. melt in your mouth goodness. their pastry chef (who also started making all the gringo-bread in house, banishing the super-hard sandies) is making all the pasta fresh.
                they're in a remodel-flurry, so dining is strictly patio at the moment. the inside should be open soon. i urge a re-visit before writing off the spot forever.

                1. re: tastybite
                  NirvRush Jul 5, 2007 08:31 AM

                  what's the name of the Italian concept?

                  1. re: NirvRush
                    rollledspleen Jul 5, 2007 08:51 AM

                    According to the Chronicle the name is Molto. As someone noted Italian is a passion for the chef, so I hope the food is good.

                    1. re: rollledspleen
                      NirvRush Jul 5, 2007 11:21 AM

                      oh god, watch Mario Battali try suing another Austin joint for name infringement. ;)

                      1. re: NirvRush
                        rollledspleen Jul 12, 2007 08:00 AM

                        NirRush, you nailed it. Chronicle blurb this morning says their attorney's warning about being the second Austin eatery to be sued is why they changed the name

                        1. re: rollledspleen
                          NirvRush Jul 12, 2007 08:50 PM

                          i KNOW! i was so proud of myself when i read that today! =)

                    2. re: NirvRush
                      Alan Sudo Jul 11, 2007 09:25 AM

                      I passed by last night while out running errands. I think that they were having a soft opening, tables were set, candles burning. The windows are painted with something close to "Stromtini Restaurante Italiano" or "Stomtini Restaurante Italiano". Something very close to that, it was hard to get it exactly and pay attention to my driving at the same time.

                      1. re: Alan Sudo
                        femmenikita Jul 11, 2007 12:17 PM

                        It's called Stortini. Currently serving dinner only. There's a little blurb about it here: http://www.austin360.com/calendar/con...

                2. c
                  ChristineR Jun 29, 2007 02:07 PM

                  Are you kidding??? I just went recently and had the crispy oysters, and the shrimp and grits, and my husband had the ribeye- it was so good!

                  I thought the atmosphere was a bit off, however. Interesting.

                  1. MPH Jun 28, 2007 06:37 PM

                    Thanks for sharing your scoop, rolledspleen. Yours is the first report I've heard of this.

                    Although El Gringo succumbed to a quick death, I can't say that I'm sorry to see it go. I never liked their "American/Southwestern" food (http://www.chowhound.com/topics/349538 ). Given how badly they did familiar dishes at EG, I'm not hopeful that their Italian venture is going to be any better. I am willing to bet, however, that the new spot will generate just as much hype as El Gringo did, regardless of the quality of their chow.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: MPH
                      jwynne2000 Jun 28, 2007 06:57 PM

                      Yeah. I'm with you. I only ate there once - had a pulled pork sandwich and the bread was so tough it was really pretty impossible to eat.

                      1. re: jwynne2000
                        shan Jun 28, 2007 10:04 PM

                        I agree. We ate there only once and that was enough for us. My husband hated the country fried (ribeye was it?) and I was less than impressed by the fish sandwich I ordered. We ordered the cookies for dessert and I think Whole Foods makes better ones. I'm not sorry to see it go either. I think one of the things that irks me (pet peeve) is why do we need to 're-imagine' comfort food in the first place? I can see the idea if there are 20 restaurants in this town that all do exceptional comfort food, but honestly, I'm still looking for one that does it well beyond just one or two dishes.

                      2. re: MPH
                        rollledspleen Jun 28, 2007 07:10 PM

                        Duck pozole was el gringo's one hit wonder in my book (or at least it was good enough when you're under the weather). You're probably right about the hype, but Italian seems pretty far afield for the El Chile folk.

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