There’s a new Italian kid on the block and he’ll give your Nonna a run for her money. Located in the old Fire Station No. 7 building in San Antonio’s Southtown, Battalion serves fresh Italian favorites in a space more reminiscent of a swanky club than grandma’s kitchen. Andrew Goodman (of Feast and Rebelle) excelled in combining the historic 1924 building’s original charm with high-end finishes. Original fireman’s poles remain juxtaposed with chrome chandeliers. They may not be fighting fires anymore but you may have to fight the crowds. This place is serving up some pretty good Italian food.
After seeing a matinee of Finding Neverland at the Majestic last Saturday (it’s a really good show, by the way) my husband and I looked forward to an early evening of pasta and vino. We arrived at Battalion at 5:15 and there was already a serious wait. But it was worth it.
We started with an order of the Three Cheese Beef & Pork “Meatballs.” When they arrived my first thought was that they were actually more of a cube than the spherical treat I’m used to. Maybe that’s why the word meatballs is in quotes on the menu. None of that really matters though because what does matter is how delicious they were. I just wish we had each ordered our own because trust me, you won’t want to share. The outside has that slight crust like the done edge on a lasagna. As I’ve mentioned on the blog before, that crispy goodness is one of my favorite things.
We enjoyed the Italian Salad which was lightly tossed in a bright pepperoncini dressing. Following that we ordered two pastas – Fetuccine Carbonara and Trenne Bombay. I really enjoyed the egg yolk cream of the fetuccine, but I would rather have had more of the trenne. It was perfect. Trenne is like penne pasta only it’s three-sided (hence the “tre” in the name). Rather than a vodka sauce, it’s made with gin. We really enjoyed the crispy pancetta and dill as well as a slight spicy note.
For the “Portata Principale” we had to try the Chicken Parmesan. My Italian mother-in-law makes what I think is the best chicken parm and Battalion’s is pretty high up there (don’t tell her I said so). The portion is large enough for two people to easily split. Topped with smoked mozzarella and ribbons of basil, this was what we came for. It’s one of the ultimate comfort foods, and if you grow up Italian (which I did not but my husband did) you might judge a place based on its chicken parm. Battalion passed the test.
Desserts are off-menu and the evening’s selections included tiramisu and panna cotta, both of which looked incredible but would not have fit in our stomachs. However, Battalion has you covered with an array of digestivo liqueurs. If you’re in downtown San Antonio looking for great Italian food, definitely give Battalion your business.
604 S. Alamo Street
San Antonio, TX 78210
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