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Taste in Pacific Palisades

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My husband and I were in a bit of a mood Sunday, but after checking out Taste in Pacific Palisades, we cheered right up. Taste is the new beach outpost of the West Hollywood restaurant of the same name. Located just 15-20 minutes from our Venice pad in a nondescript strip mall a few blocks up from the beach, this location is a lot more convenient for us. We’ve never been to the WeHo spot so we can’t compare the two. But a hearty meal of pure comfort food in huge portions was just what we needed on a cloudy beach Sunday.

When we walked in at 6 p.m., it was still light outside, but Taste was a contrast in dark — low lighting, curtains blocking out the sun, dark wood furniture and candles on the wall. It’s not exactly a beachy spot with a patio or sidewalk cafe. It looks more like a casually elegant place you’d find, well, in West Hollywood. We weren’t feeling sunny and cheery so it suited our mood just fine.

Our helpful waiter/actor Brian Lloyd looks like the younger brother of Samantha’s boyfriend on “Sex and the City,” but I digress. He suggested we order the white truffle oil and mushroom mac & cheese, and how could I resist? Whatever you say, Brian. Made with white cheddar and Parmesan and topped with smoked mozzarella, it was quite yummy. The smoke of the mozzarella really dominated, and the truffle oil let you know it was there without overwhelming the dish like the drunk guest at a party. My husband ordered chicken tortilla soup, which seemed oddly out of place on the menu. We also couldn’t find any tortillas, but my husband thought the soup was a winner — zesty and flavorful. He actually preferred it to the mac & cheese. (Maybe that’s just because it was one dish Brian didn’t recommend.)

Our entrees were both creamy and rich. Vic got the Kobe beef meatballs over linguine with white truffle cheese fondue. (The chef doesn’t skimp on his truffle oil here.) The meatballs were coated in a sweet tomato sauce. My dish, the wild mushroom risotto, also reeked pleasantly of truffles. The menu lists two optional additions to the risotto, chicken and black tiger shrimp. But if you ask nicely, your waiter might let you do what I did, which is to top the risotto with braised short ribs, another entree on the menu. You can’t get any more decadent than that. This heavenly dish was so filling that I couldn’t finish it and had no room left for dessert. Thankfully, my amazing human vacuum cleaner of a husband saved us from having to bring home any leftovers. The entire meal with three glasses of wine came to $94 before tip.

For those who are not inclined to carbo load like we did, there are healthier menu items. The table next to us was feasting on a lovely salmon salad, and Brian recommends the pear and prosciutto salad starter. Order that, and you might even have room left for the bread pudding. — Jenny.

Pic of the Kobe meatballs on our blog at: http://grubtrotters.com/2009/03/29/ta...

Taste, 538 Palisades Drive; 310-459-9808

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  1. Glad to finally get an opinion of this place, being I live right up the hill from there, and was really disappointed when Il Carpaccio was suddenly gone (heard it was due to a break up with the chef & his wife the hostess?!) Anyway, always liked il Carpaccio, except the attitude when it first opened.

    But, I've read reviews in eater LA and some claim the original Taste on Melrose (never been myself) is nothing to get excited over, in fact one said "Taste tastes like sh*t", so I've been very reluctant to try it.

    The atmosphere does sound more cozy than the way it looked when it was the original (to me) Cafe Misto and then, Il Carpac.

    Glad to hear there's finally a decent restaurant in the palisades! Thanks for your review!!