- February 5, 2016

If This Food Porn From Napa Flats Doesn't Make You Hungry, You Might Be Dead

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We recently had a very gracious invitation from the fine folks at the newly opened north Austin Italian bistro Napa Flats. Nestled in the wide-open expanse of North Austin, It’s quite a welcome respite from the lack of Italian we can sometimes be saddled with here in our great city.

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Napa Flats Wood Fire Kitchen, located at 8300 N. FM 620 Bldg Ste. 100 Austin, TX 78726

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Having not been familiar with Napa Flats, (they have three other locations throughout Texas and Oklahoma), we weren’t really sure what to expect. At first glance, it looked like a straight-up wood fired pizza joint with a few interesting appetizers, but that first impression honestly could not have been more wrong. Turns out the full menu is extensive, with literally something for everyone.

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We became acclimated with the space right away thanks to the restaurant’s sprawling and modern design. Within moments of walking in, our host Dana whisked us away to the bar area, which had a sizable number of beers and wines on tap. Yes, you read me right: They have WINE ON TAP.

It was truly something to behold. Also: Really interesting and quite tasty.

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Before heading to our table, we were schooled in all things wood-fired grill, which burns 24 hours a day, seven days a week at Napa Flats. Once we got to the table, we were also impressed that they presented us with a wide selection of samples from their menu almost immediately.

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Appetizers were obviously first. We really enjoyed the Chonburi shrimp, which is basically fried shrimp doused in a Sriracha, mayo, and garlic sauce, served over a bed of slaw. We couldn’t get enough of the Palo Alto dip, either. That’s a tasty cheese and artichoke mixture served with strips of flat bread. Also, their Margherita is a little thicker than those I’ve had in the past, but strongly flavorful and delicious.

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Chonburi shrimp

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The main courses also turned out to be quite impressive. The rib-eye was served with chimichurri sauce, which is a more than adequate when it comes to replacing traditional steak sauce. The combination resulted in quite possibly my favorite entree of the evening.

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Rib-eye Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

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We also sampled Tony’s Bow Tie Pasta and their spinach and kale ravioli, and both were fantastic. I especially loved the wood-fired chicken and prosciutto in the Tony’s Bow Tie dish. It took your traditional bow tie pasta meal and really kicked it up a notch.

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Tony’s Bow Tie

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The Spinach and Kale Ravioli was lighter and simpler, and packed with great flavors. The fact that they make their own ravioli really showed off the kitchen’s attention to detail. Served with mushrooms and shallots in a fantastic white wine cream sauce, it really made a great impression.

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Spinach and kale ravioli

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After sampling these entrees, we were getting pretty full but their small gelato bar near the kitchen caught my eye. Traditional flavors like strawberry, salted caramel, mint chocolate chip, and pistachio are longstanding favorites, but Napa Flats also offers a few creative, rotating flavors. “The Elvis,” an epic mash-up of peanut butter and banana, was just one example. We sampled the strawberry and mint chocolate chip, which were both divine.

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Mint chocolate chip and strawberry sorbet gelato

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We also tried the banana crumble, layered with bananas, toasted pecans, and vanilla gelato covered in droppings of brown sugar orange sauce and salted caramel. If that doesn’t sound like something you want in your mouth right now, check your pulse.

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Banana Crumble with Vanilla Gelato

Overall, I was really impressed by Napa Flats, which doesn’t set out to be any particular *type* of restaurant and still really succeeds on a lot of levels. Customers can keep it as formal or as casual, and the selections range from pizza to Mediterranean samplers to a rib-eye steaks, so there’s pretty much no taste that’s not met by something here.

If you find yourself up in North Austin, don’t hesitate to check it out Napa Flats.
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Photos: Courtney “Tex” Clark.