Lunch @ Il Grano is awesome!
Just felt I had to post this up as I've done lunch here twice in two weeks and the food/value is INSANE!
"Sal's Lunch" is $19, and comes with a starter of either beet salad or daily fish tartare. The tartare was Tai Snapper w/ capers on the first visit, redolent with fragrant olive oil and subtle fresh herbs, flanked by shredded raw beets for an earthy crunch and baby arugula which added a slight peppery bite to the dish-- excellent stuff.
The 2nd course is a choice of pasta or cooked fish. Il Grano's specialty is fish so I had to try it out, and thank god I did! Grilled Katsuo (Japanese skipjack tuna) accented with a touch of salt and olive oil, was presented on top of thin slices of zucchini with slivers of fresh mint. It was absolutely delicious. This dish made me want to rip up some grass in my yard to plant more squash!
The extensive wine list opens to a section labeled "100 wines under $60". The selection is well thought-out, even on the low end. We enjoyed a killer Fiano from Mastrobernadino for about $50.
Sal Marino, the chef-owner of Il Grano, sources his fish and vegetables fresh every morning at market and his commitment shows. To anyone who hasn't tried this excellent restaurant for lunch, GET GOING!
His squid ink pasta with uni sauce is outstanding. The ambiance lost a little when Stefano left to open Al 'Angelo, though. But now we have two excellent restaurants instead of one.
Definitely one of the best lunches as well as lunch values anywhere in the greater LA area - Sal's food never gets enough appreciation amid all the calamity of the newest, latest and greatest of a given moment, yet he has been doing it for a long time and hope he continues to do so.