Odam: Isla turns to Peru for inspiration

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Odam: Isla turns to Peru for inspiration

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Chef Julio-Cesar Flórez first brought the cuisine of his native Peru to Austinites via Llama’s Peruvian. He now serves up the globally inspired cuisine at Isla in the Warehouse District. Ralph Barrera/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Isla has received a South American update. The Warehouse District spot has dabbled in the flavors and style of the Caribbean since owner Rob Pate (Péché) took over the space formerly occupied by Pleasant Storage Room about two years ago, but it is now turning its sights toward the flavors of the South American culinary capital.

Chef Julio-Cesar Flórez, a Peruvian native who is the chef behind Llama’s Peruvian trailer downtown, has joined the restaurant to redirect the menu. Peruvian cuisine takes influences from across the globe, and the new menu reflects that, with dishes such as grilled meat and veggie skewers, ceviche with leche de tigre, squid ink risotto, and rotisserie chicken. Flórez, who has also worked at Gusto Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar and Hyde Park Bar & Grill, most recently served as the chef at the now-shuttered Malaga.

Pate said the bar program, which will be led by Shane Paule, will still have an “island-inspired vibe,” with obvious nods to the popular pisco drinks of South America. Isla (208 W. Fourth St.) is open for dinner Monday-Saturday, with happy hour starting at 4 p.m. on weekdays. (islaaustin.com)

Now open

After about an eight-month hiatus, the Hilton Austin (500 E. Fourth St.) once again has a centerpiece restaurant. The downtown staple unveiled Cannon + Belle last week. The restaurant, which took the place of Finn & Porter, follows the trend of Texas-centric comfort food. Chef Peter Maffei, who also guided Finn & Porter, is at the reins in the kitchen.

Cannon + Belle, named after Angelina Belle Eberly, who also has a new swanky spot named in her honor on South Lamar Boulevard, is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner, serving a menu that includes toasted farro with marinated cauliflower and a poached egg, hot chicken with Brussels sprouts, shrimp and grits, burgers, sandwiches, and pizzas with toppings like bacon-wrapped quail.

The Texas-focused wine program features wines on tap from Duchman Family Winery in Driftwood and includes offerings from McPherson Cellars, Becker Vineyards and Fall Creek Vineyards.

The new restaurant is part of a $23 million renovation that included updates to the lobby and other public areas. Cannon + Belle is open daily from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. (cannonandbelle.com)

The owners of Vox Table didn’t have to look far for a location for their second concept. They opened casual Tex-Mex restaurant El Burro in the Lamar Union complex (1100 S. Lamar Blvd.) last week, just steps from their Modern American restaurant.

Vox Table chef Joe Anguiano also serves as the executive chef of El Burro, which focuses on Tex-Mex staples like enchiladas, fajitas and tacos. The appetizer section features dishes like grilled Mexican street corn, queso fundido, ceviche tostadas and glazed pork ribs.

Expect margaritas, Mexican martinis and other tequila-based cocktails at the restaurant that also offers outdoor patio seating with a view of Lamar. El Burro is open for dinner daily starting at 5 p.m. (elburroatx.com)

Closing

Doc’s Motorworks will close Dec. 23, as Statesman business reporter Shonda Novak wrote in last week’s Statesman. The bar and grill that opened at 1123 S. Congress Ave. in 2005, and several of its neighbors, will be replaced by a mixed-use project. Doc’s, which also has locations in Central and South Austin, is reportedly looking for another spot in the area.

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