Fabi + Rosi

Fabi + Rosi

Fabi + Rosi
509 Hearn St.
(512) 236 0642
fabiandrosi.com

Fabi + Rosi is full of surprises. For starters, it’s hidden in a tranquil bungalow off a bustling thoroughfare. The next surprise is its chic interior, an unexpected contrast to its 1903 Craftsman that houses it. Sleek white leather, polished wood and crystal chandeliers make Fabi + Rosi look modern, sophisticated…and expensive. Which is the next surprise: it’s not. Most entrees on its upscale, eclectic menu are priced below $20.

If you’re looking to impress without breaking the bank, Fabi + Rosi is your place. This European restaurant delivers stylish ambiance, quality service and inventive food at a modest price. German-born chef Wolfgang Murber and his Austinite wife, Cassie Williamson, opened it in 2009. Located in a cottage off Lake Austin Boulevard formerly occupied by Zoot, Fabi + Rosi continues to draw a loyal neighborhood crowd. The menu reflects Murber’s European roots, where classic continental dishes are given an Austin twist. Local, sustainable ingredients are found on almost every plate: house made bratwurst is served with local Fireman’s #4 mustard; caprese salad is drizzled with Texas olive oil; schnitzel is made with Richardson Farms pork.

Fabi + Rosi’s food mirrors its appealing ambiance and looks terrific on the plate. And for the most part, it tastes as good as it looks. But occasionally, Murber’s ambitious fusion misses the mark. We started with a disappointingly bland Baby Octopus Sofrito, slow cooked then chilled and topped with diced bell peppers and smoked paprika oil. The BLT Salad stumbled, too. Bibb lettuce, grape tomatoes, pickled onions and buttermilk dressing were fresh enough, but cubes of pork belly were dry and tough.

But where the appetizers fizzled, the entrees soared. Day Boat Scallops were seared to caramelized perfection atop tomato reduction, sweet whiskey corn and shishito peppers. Flavorful, juicy Loncitos lamb t-bones were served with creamy manchego grits and savory oyster mushrooms. And roast chicken with mashed potatoes — the dish that made previous tenant, Zoot, famous — has wisely remained a menu staple. Dessert was fantastic: grilled fresh peaches with a scoop of black pepper ice cream. Simple yet complex, it was a genius of contrasts: warm, charred fruit against cold, creamy ice cream; sweet, ripe peaches juxtaposing spicy cracked pepper. Fabi + Rosi’s wine list is a globetrotting adventure and its 25 delicious, unexpected selections are worth exploring. Our server paired a bright Austrian Sattler with the BLT salad, a lush Spanish Albarino with the scallops and a bold Spanish Rioja with the lamb. All were winning combinations.

Which brings me to service, yet another area where Fabi + Rosi exceeds expectations. Our knowledgeable and attentive server guided us through the menu and wine list, offering helpful explanations and suggestions. She even offered to split portions and glasses of wine so we could share and explore more of the menu. At Fabi + Rosi, you get a lot of bang for your buck: upscale food, fashionable surroundings and excellent service. Now isn’t that a pleasant surprise?

Album

Fabi + Rosi