New Waterloo’s Italian restaurant, Il Brutto, is set to open its doors for dinner service on March 12. Located at the corner of Comal & East 6th, the restaurant will serve a menu of traditional, non-regional Italian fare by Executive Chef Erind Halilaj and New Waterloo’s Corporate Executive Pastry Chef Amanda Rockman. The restaurant will also offer lunch & brunch service starting in early April.
Translated as ‘The Ugly,’ the name Il Brutto is a nod to the iconic Spaghetti Western film The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Designed by Austin-based architects Clayton & Little, the restaurant features an open kitchen with an imported Neapolitan wood-burning brick oven, an exposed dough room, a separate bar and lounge, a private dining room that seats up to 34 guests, and a live oak tree-shaded patio for dining al fresco.
“The design ties the American West with Italian landscape through a lot of texture, like terracotta tables and leather chairs contrasted with blue-green walls in the dining room,” says Melanie Raines, New Waterloo’s director of design. “There’s also a lot of late 70s-early 80s Italian psychedelic rock on the playlist. It’s Italian that doesn’t take itself too seriously.”
Il Brutto’s offerings boast a variety of traditional, non-regional dishes, including fresh antipasti, daily house-made pastas, and pizzas baked in the restaurant’s Neapolitan wood-burning oven. Entrée highlights include Chef Halilaj’s squid ink tagliolini with fresh clams, mussels, sweet tomatoes, and marjoram, a straightforward margherita di bufala pizza, and beef tenderloin slow-cooked in Nebbiolo wine. At the bar, Italian classics prevail with an entire menu dedicated to amari and vermouth. The beverage program will also highlight an extensive selection of Italian wines as well as local and Italian craft beers. The pastry program, led by Chef Rockman, will feature time-honored Italian favorites, including tiramisu, cannoli, and panna cotta.
Halilaj joined the New Waterloo team in 2017 as executive chef for Il Brutto and its counterpart, La Matta, a casual, Italian sandwich and charcuterie-focused shop. Raised in Italy, Halilaj most recently served as corporate executive chef for Obicà Mozzarella Bar in New York City.
“Il Brutto’s menu represents the cuisine of Italy as a whole, from Mediterranean flavors of the south to central lamb dishes and beef tenderloin from the north,” says Chef Halilaj. “Our dishes are respectful of tradition and that starts with fresh ingredients and classic techniques.”
Il Brutto is located at The Arnold (1617 East 6th Street, Austin, TX 78702), on the corner of East 6th and Comal, a project co-developed by New Waterloo and Transwestern. The Arnold features 350 apartments and more than 100,000 square feet of office space for tenants like C3 Presents, Condé Nast, and Front Gate Tickets.
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