Cibo Dumbs Down Its Menu
Speaking of Italian food that's been needlessly spiced and tarted up, Cibo has made a step towards the dark side. (To see sambamaster's post on Austin diners who won't accept Italian food that's austerely prepared: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/424757#2799180 ).
Here's a link to Cibo's new menu:
The change is treated as great news by local media, who are echoing management’s spin:
With the exception of the fegatini appetizer, the restaurant seems to have eliminated all interesting items that I previously enjoyed there:
I find this depressing. I'm not saying that none of the new dishes *can* be good. I'm saying that they don't sound appealing to me. I lived for two years in Italy (Lazio and Campania), so I crave Italian food like what I had there. Like sambamaster, I’ve searched for it at all the usual suspects in town (excluding chains). The old Cibo came closest to delivering. . . for too short a short time.
Thanks, for posting this MPH, this is something I've been meaning to write for a while. Cibo has been our favorite restaurant in Austin for the past year and we recently had chance to spend some time in Venice and we had some dishes there that were great that reminded us of Cibo. We had been noting the lack of crowds at the restaurant and knew he was struggling--at one point a few months ago the paninni disappeared along with most of the desserts (yea to paninni leaving, boo for choices for dessert). And we would usually go on Fridays and Saturday nights and there would only be 4-5 tables filled at 8pm.
Obviously, hurting he decided to rejigger his menu it seems, thinking Austin can't handle the sophisticated food. However, I'm not sure if that was the reason as much as getting the word out about his restaurant and also taking reservations past 6:30. I had many a knowledgeable food friend that had not even heard about Cibo. And at first for us, we didn't go because we thought it would be crowded and didn't want to get down there and then be disappointed.
Anyway, our meal on Saturday was a solid one but not as exciting as previous visits. They are serving bread and olive oil before the meal now--definitely pandering to Austin's Italian expectations. We had mussels (prepared different then on your menu above) that were pretty tasty in a warm tomato broth; Duck tortellini that were nice prepared but overall bland; beef tenderloin that was well cooked and tasty but not exciting; roasted duck breast that differs from that menu which was again perfectly prepared. For dessert we had a trendy espresso granita thingy that I didn't try but was raved about and a panna cotta in melon soup that was probably the most adventorous item on the menu and above average.
Oh, I should after averaging $80 a meal for similar portions, our bill went up to $100+ this time. Of course the beef and duck are two of the most expensive items, but it deserves noting.
Also, I haven't investigated but he had a group of 8 sitting upstairs. I know he used to offer a big table up there and I wonder if you got 6-8 people on a non-weekend night if you could get him to do a more interesting Italian meal.
Anyway, we are sad to see the menu change but the food is still well prepared at Cibo and maybe if he can begin to draw a crowd (it was more crowded this Saturday) we'll see the return of some of the more interesting items as he tries to expand Austin's limited Italian palate.