Italian talked about in beach Cities
there was an Italian place talked about two weeks ago in one of the Beach cities--basically great food and described as like being in an authentic restaurant in Italy.
it wasnt the laboratory or Saluzzi....anyone remember?
Dav--that's it. thanks to BN1, too.
I will let folks know what I think about it and/or Saluzzi if plans hold and we go to one or the other, instead of Neil's in Pedro--which we all adore.
I am always trying to get the family to branch out, but with three strong-willed, opinionated shethings, sometimes tried and true is the simplest way to agreement.
But they can't refuse me on my birthday--alas in March.
I finally got to sosta this week and it was really fine. I didnt have a reservation but was alone so I sat at the cutting board table and was able to talk with the owner. He and his maitre shared some wine with me. The platta of cold cuts was fine but nothing out of the world. the shrimp with polenta was good. Shrimp were excellent and very tasty and cooked perfectly. Polenta, it was polenta.
The thing that made evening was the fettucini with braised veal in a wine and rosemary sauce. superb. the noodles were out of sight and the veal pieces, chunks really, were superb.
cost me seventy two dollars with tip and one glass of wine at fifteen. worth the splurge, but too far from home for a regular visit. I hate to drive after eating and drinking well. It is worth a trip and if I lived in the beach cities I would go more often.
I dined at La Sosta for the first time several months ago. It was one of the finest dining experiences (and those true "dining experiences" are hard to come by in the South Bay) I had had in the South Bay in many years. FINALLY something more sophisticated and unique than spaghetti and meatballs!
We started with the deep-fried squash blossoms. Tasty, but a little greasy. I probably would opt for another appetizer my next go-around, but appreciate what they were trying to do and the flavor was good, the produce fresh.
For main course, my mate had the filet mignon with peppercorn sauce, which was accompanied by roasted red peppers and wilted greens. The presentation was very simple, which I appreciated because it showcased the freshness of the ingredients. I am so OVER over-sauced foods. Everything drowning in an over-salted, over-creamy slop! Bleh!
My own main course consisted of the most foreign-sounding thing I could find on the menu - Spaghetti with Shaved, Smoked Monkfish Eggs. It was something like spaghetti alla carbonara with a simple butter-based sauce, but with the salt and flavor coming from the small rectangular shavings of smoked monkfish eggs, instead of bacon/prosciutto. With each bite, I enjoyed it more and the pasta was cooked perfectly al dente. Overall, it was very satisfying to have gone a bit out on a limb and be rewarded with a new flavor.
We asked our waiter to recommend a wine because neither of us were knowledgeable about Italian wines. We requested a white wine - something light, fruity, with a buttery finish and perhaps the crispness of a pinot grigio. He brought us a bottle of Terra D'Uva, which hit the nail square on the head. Quite impressive and it worked well with our meals, as well.
For dessert, we had the waiters suggestion: the profiteroles with homemade chocolate sauce. I've never been a huge fan of profiteroles as they are usually too firm in texture and the sauces are lacking. But these were outstanding! The cream puffs were light and the cream inside was... refreshing instead of heavy. What really set it apart was the homemade chocolate sauce. It too was light, but rich with flavor. You could really taste the nuances and quality of the chocolate. Quite an aphrodisiac - especially when your honey is feeding them to you one by one! :)
I will definitely visit again. I felt that the price was reasonable ($150) for a bottle of wine, sparkling water, appetizer, 2 entrees and dessert, all of which were of quality that is superior to so much of what is served up in the South Bay.
Next time, I think I will try to sit at the bar with the wine host and sample the meats and cheeses with Italian wines, just for fun and education.
More recently, I visited Coccole. I think they are trying to do the same type of thing, but they fell short with the menu. Kind of over-priced Italian standards with a slight twist, which mostly consists of the hype around the "Slow Food" movement. Nothing particularly adventurous here and the price was about the same. I didn't feel nearly as satisfied with my meal and will not likely visit again.
la sosta is pricey. I spent $95 at la sosta and left very happy. I went back twice. I spent about 45 at coccole and felt dissappointed.
I hate not giving restaurants more than one chance, but i have about 10 italian places on my must try list and every time a try a new italian place, it is better than la sosta and coccole, so it is VERY hard to give an underwhelming experience another try. I go to la sosta though, because the experience was very positive and because its local.
I am sure Coccole is good, I just didn't order anything I liked. I don;t remember exactly what we had, but my wife and I always order specials at QUALITY places. The reason is because the chef CHOSE to make that particular dish with the freshest ingredients, thus it showcases their skills the most. The specials at Coccole were very underwhelming although "thoughtful".
I have been to Buona Sera. Despite the fact that my wife and I love italian, and we are a 5 minute WALK from the restaurant, we still don't go often. Their salads are okay and their pumpkin ravioli is relatively impressive, but the rest of their food is very underwhelming. We go back once in a blue moon to get the pumpkin ravioli, but aside from that, it is merely a slightly above average place.
Don't get me wrong, none of these places are Bucca di beppo or olive garden quality, they just arent GREAT. In a city as large as LA, and with 3 other good options in the southbay, I simply didnt find buona sera or coccole worth frequent visits.