Appetite Stimulus Menu - Valentino
Went to Valentino/Vin Bar last night for the "Appetite Stimulus" menu. The Vin Bar room is adorable, comfortable and welcoming. Fiance & I started with Calamaretti and assortment of cured meats (proscuitto, salame, etc). The Calamaretti was tender and crisp and served with a lemony aioli sauce. Entrees included Pappardelle Al Cioccolato (Chocolate Pappardelle with lobster ragu) for me and Chicken Parmigiano for my SO. The pasta dish was fantastic - rich sauce with huge chunks of lobster meat. The chicken was tender and melted in your mouth, but the potion was a bit small (it was served with a few roasted postatoes and some delicious vegetables drenched in butter). For dessert, we split a Cannoli and Almond Panne Cotta. Both were very good. We also had a nice bottle of Dolcetto (for around $40). Our bill was around $120 before tax - pretty reasonable for great food and ambiance. The only complaint was the lack of attention from our waiter. Granted they were busy, but we should not have had to wait close to 20 minutes for our bill (especially after we asked the waiter for it twice) - we finally flagged down the bus boy who brought us the bill and ran our credit card. Felt like the bus boy did a better job as our waiter.
Good news is that they are running this special ($35 for 3-courses) till the end of December!
I was bummed because my friends and I had reservations on thursday to Valentinos but we were unable to make it at the last minute so I thought we missed out on theor special deal but thanks for the info. Im going to definitely check it out before the end of the month.
Valentino's time has passed. There is now much better Italian food in Los Angeles. Maybe in 1979, they could get away with such pretentious behavior, but this is 2009. From the overhyped, oversized and overpriced wine list, to the "yes, we allow you to be graced with our presence" attitude, everything about this restaurant makes me want to eat elsewhere. The food is actually quite good, not great but very good. Fresh made pastas are a hard thing to come by, and for that I am grateful they do still have that going for them. Braised shanks on the otherhand, were served cold and very bland. Steaks were served and cooked properly, but that isn't exactly rocket science, is it?
Another problem I have with their menu, is that there seems to be no regional specificity to their offerings. Italian greatest hits for foodie tourists is what it felt like.
I know this isn't the friendliest of first posts, but there probably have been worse. But this restaurant was probably my biggest culinary letdown of all time.
List of Italian restaurants better than Valentinos:
La Botte, Piccolo, Via Veneto, All'Angelo, Angelini Osteria, La Terza, Melograno and Il Moro
Ironically none of these restaurants are cheaper and maybe some might be a tad more but generally priced in the same range and all of which have always been friendly, courteous and professional, from the chefs to the wait staff to the bus staff.
Valentino is one of the least pretentious restaurants around. It has won a James Beard award for best service in the country. Any pretentiousness left...ironically enough to open All'Angelo (far more expensive and second rate).
The difference is Valentino treats everyone VIP, not a small select like other restaurants.
P.S. Valentino tasting menu is $85... nothing is comparable to that
I think that they are going to keep the $35 menu for some time, I had a similar dinner to the one you ordered last month and it was fantastic, I haven't seen a chocolate pasta before, combined with juicy lobster meat it is superb.