14028 N. US Hwy 183, Ste. #210
Austin, TX 78717
Most of Austin’s better Italian restaurants, with the notable exceptions of Sienna, NoRTH, and Andiamo are clustered within a few mile radius of downtown. Well, it’s time to add another exception. Cedro [pronounced ched-ro] has opened at Lakeline Mall adjacent to the Alamo Drafthouse.
This is an engaging and comfortable little restaurant that produces dishes that can stand with many of Austin’s better known and higher end Italian spots. The Arancini, a lovely melange of lightly battered balls of lemon risotto adorned with a Pomodoro sauce has a very pleasant taste that is not too texturally dense: this yields a light and very approachable dish with great mouth feel. As good or better than the same dish at NoRTH.The PEI Mussels is another nice appetizer. The mussels are plump and tasty but the sauce with red onion, garlic and red chili flakes really elevates this one. You will most certainly burn through your allotment of bread just mopping up the sauce.
The key to a successful Calamari is to differentiate it a bit. The really zesty lemon and pickled chili accomplish this. The squid is crispy and succulent as you would expect but the flavors are pleasantly original.
The pasta entrees are for the most part quite tasty. I usually stay away from Carbonara dishes at smaller restaurants but Cedro’s version, with fettuccine, bacon, eggs, cream and parsley is every bit the keeper. There’s a sweetness and lightness to this dish that makes it irresistible.
I am also fond of the Gnocchi. These little balls of bliss served with Pomodoro and garlic are elevate the potato to an entirely new level. Try it!
The Pappardelle is a dish I have been missing in this area since the demise of Will Packwood’s Cibo on Congress some years ago. Cedro makes a damned good version of this classic adorning the familiar flat noodles with sweet Italian sausage along with a light, basil accented fresh tomato ragu.
There is a small but quite distinctive selection of pizza at Cedro.Want to try something a bit different that will awaken your taste buds? Get the Figs pizza with gorgonzola cream, caramelized onions and applewood bacon. This is way past my normal sausage and peppers sensibilities but I loved it.
The entrees, like everything else at Cedro, are carefully and thoughtfully selected. My favorite of all of these is the Seafood Risotto. This stands with the famous Risotto that the former Louie’s 106 on W 6th used to make and that’s saying something. The main components are gulf shrimp, mussels, salmon and calamari and the dish is not the least bit runny as can happen with arboreal rice and shellfish dishes.The texture is spot on and the flavor is quite compelling. Kudos to Cedro on this one.
This restaurant is miles away from my house near Dripping Springs, But it’s most worth the trip. For those fortunate enough to live around north Austin or Cedar Park, Cedro is an early Christmas present this year.