One of us is going to admit that one of their favorite Italian places is Olive Garden, and that person also admits that she knows Olive Garden isn’t true Italian food (but who can resist those breadsticks?). Which is why we were elated and giddy to find out about Stefan Bowers’ concept for turning an old firehouse in Southtown into an Italian culinary fete. Stefan Bowers’ Feast and Rebelle are foodie-havens, and Battalion is no exception. With an opening date set in March, we eagerly made reservations and the wait was well worth it.
Bowers’ hired Italian pasta maker Elene D'Agostino to bring authenticity to each of their handmade pastas including a menu of 10 pastas for $10 (seriously – we’re never going to the OG again). From the charred eggplant, fresh bread and into dinner, Battalion was perfection form the minute we walked in. Not only is the décor gorgeous, it’s modern accents play beautifully against the worn walls of the firehouse. They even kept the firepole – No chance for rides down from the top, but the picture-op is pretty cool.
While they have a full menu that stakes a claim as a pivotal change in fine dining in San Antonio, we opted for three pastas to share. Since Patricio pines for anything Pumpkin, we went with the Pumpkin ravioli. The sauce was a delicate blend of amaretto, sage, butter and Parmesan. This takes you to a place of wanting to be wrapped in flannel near a fireplace in October. It’s so filling, but the flavors delicate. The Torchio Gorgonzola that was simply dressed with red onion, cream and rosemary. Each flavor only accenting the next, this pasta is simply crave-worthy. The Trenne Bombay was the most interesting flavor profile out of our trio with a mix pancetta, gin, tomato cream and dill pollen. The pasta is dense and acts as the vessel for these flavor profiles – but it falls nothing short of memorable and most importantly, delicious. Did we mention there have 3 cheese beef and pork meatballs? These "meatballs" are made of beef and pork and come covered in parmesan.
And here’s a rule when you can’t choose which dessert to get – Get both. Do we regret anything? Not a dang thing. The pana cotta with caramelized pistachios drizzled over the top is enough to keep you thinking about it for weeks. And I’m not exaggerating – anyone someone asks about Battalion I go into the desserts and my mouth literally waters. And the tiramisu? Forget about any other tiramisu you’ve had. Ever.
Battalion is beyond any expectation we could have set, and it doesn’t look like they’re slowing down anytime soon. So if you’re ready to ditch the tour of Italy plate at your local OG, make reservations and head to Southtown this weekend for a true transport to our favorite boot-shaped country.