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CaptionCloseLocal design firm Hilmy designed the graphics for Andrew Goodman's Battalion in Southtown.Local design firm Hilmy designed the graphics for Andrew Goodman's Battalion in Southtown.Location: 604 S. Alamo St., 210-816-0088, battalionsa.comHours:...

Review: No fires at Battalion opening, just good Italian

CaptionCloseLocal design firm Hilmy designed the graphics for Andrew Goodman's Battalion in Southtown.Local design firm Hilmy designed the graphics for Andrew Goodman's Battalion in Southtown.Location: 604 S. Alamo St., 210-816-0088, battalionsa.comHours:...

Review: No fires at Battalion opening, just good Italian

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Local design firm Hilmy designed the graphics for Andrew Goodman's Battalion in Southtown.

Local design firm Hilmy designed the graphics for Andrew Goodman's Battalion in Southtown.

Location: 604 S. Alamo St., 210-816-0088, battalionsa.com

Hours: 5-11 p.m. Monday-Saturday

On the menu: Antipasti, $6; primi plates (risotto, scampi, meatballs), $12; salads, $8; pastas, $10; main courses, $26; sides, $8; desserts, $10. Aperitifs and digestifs, $7-$10; cocktails, $11; wine, $7-$14 by the glass, $30-$195 by the bottle; beer, $6.

Fast facts: The fence has finally come down from the old No. 7 firehouse on South Alamo, scraped down to the walls and rebuilt in mid-century (and Space Age) modern style by the team behind the fashion-forward Feast and Rebelle.

Andrew Goodman’s design fosters a mix of the firehouse’s bones — three original firepoles, the brick archways of the truck bays and the 360-degree views from the second floor windows — and creative non sequiturs like chrome swan chandeliers and a red service elevator that looks like Dr. Who’s phone booth. But the menu put in place by chef and partner Stefan Bowers and overseen by executive chef Ezekiel Cavazos follows a steady, traditional line through the Italian countryside.

Impressions: Pasta takes the center of Battalion’s one-sheet menu. There are 10 of them, from ravioli and manicotti to orecchiette and gnudi, each for $10 in portions bigger than side dishes but smaller than main courses. Enough for two or three people to get a few bites of firm pumpkin ravioli that tastes like a fall memory or a few twirls of elastic fettuccine in a carbonara dish of light egg-yolk cream sauce and a toss of firm, salty guanciale.

To appreciate Battalion’s gnudi, think of the texture of unshelled, soft-boiled quail eggs in a nest of parmesan and rustic tomato sauce, with fresh ricotta where the yolks would be. Delicate, different, satisfying.

Battalion embroiders its Italian tapestry with grilled octopus — a single, glorious tentacle over basil pesto, chickpeas and more guanciale — and a starter of eggplant dip with cocoa, mint oil and pine nuts. The eggplant gets grilled crostini, and the table gets toasted garlic bread, because these are dishes for scooping, sopping and savoring.

More substantial plates include a by-the-book veal saltimbocca, a trio of thin cutlets armored in hard-shell prosciutto in a spare white wine sauce with whole sage leaves. It’s not pretty, it’s $26 and it’s all by itself on the plate, but it’s right.

Bar service here is a story with a beginning, middle and end: aperitifs like the Battalion Spritz with prosecco, handmade soda and your liqueur of choice; cocktails like the Arsonist with tequila and Campari; and a digestivo cart dispensing outsize drams of Fernet-Branca and limoncello.

For this hyper-inventive team, straight Italian feels almost risky in its more conventional approach. But opening night suggests this firehouse crew is equipped for the job.

msutter@express-news.net

Twitter: @fedmanwalking

msutter@express-news.net

Twitter: @fedmanwalking

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