La Villa, Little Italy, Recently Opened
I guess they have been opened for 4 days or so. (Dinner only, but soon for lunch).
Address is 1646 India Street where that lightings and furnishings place was, right next to Ironside and across the street from Buon Appetito.
Nice little outdoor patio, set back from the street.
Looks to have a full bar as well.
Some menu offerings:
Crispy Pigs Head
Handmade Orecchiette with Ox Tail
Sea Urchin Risotto
Rabbit Two Ways
La Villa looks so pretty from the street, lit up at night. The way restaurants used to look before NOISE and ENTERTAINMENT (aka bogus themes and house cocktails) hijacked dining out. Very old-school in a happy-memories sort of way. I'm sorry the food doesn't measure up. But why would a great chef slave in such a place, when he can be a Celebrity with an Empire? (excuse my hobby horse.)
I like the place; nice ambiance. Big chef's table in the back kitchen (they offered me a short tour of the place. Great bar staff. Very good pastas and pizzas with housemade topping; also had a tasty rabbit entree; very authentic. Had the amuse bouche ot the day with "congealed grapefruit molecular gastronomy, (humboldt fog??) cheese, avocado, candied walnuts"; also amberjack crudo topped pork belly. So....maybe they are trying a bit too hard. I've been there 4 times, however, and they seem to be settling in to a good groove. I'll be back. I have a .mov video of the barman describing these 2 dishes, but I don't know how to upload this type of file. I'll email it to anybody who feels the need.
Stopped by this place for dinner.
Ordered 4 items.
Lamb meatballs, salad (apples, blue cheese) and another dish that I can't remember were all pretty good.
Crispy Pigs Head was a big disappointment. It was covered with a breading that made it seem cheap, like something microwaved. Greasy.
They should have just served the meat with no breading.
Also, there was a Amuse-bouche of carrot foam that was lackluster.
Average wine list with not many wines by the glass. Average priced.
All in all, not a great place, but a decent addition to Little Italy.
Found Davanti to be very mediocre, Iowa Italian. Very pretty interior but that's about it. I'll refer to their pizza as Fillipi's lite--lots of doughy, soggy bread with lots of melted cheese and not much in terms of flavor. Had a bruschetta that contained aspargus and mushrooms instead of traditional finely chopped tomatoes, parsley, olive oil, oregano,salt and pepper that authentic Italian restaurants serve. The owner of this restaurant is from Chicago and while he also owns a critically claimed restaurant in the Windy City called The Purple Pig, he is also behind a mediocre chain there called Francesca's.....I would come here for a drink (though the bar is real small) and definitely not the food.
I have yet to dine at La Villa, but I had a glass of wine and really enjoyed the ambience and decor. Like Davanti, it has an outdoor, open air courtyard area where you can dine. Will report back on miy findings. Same owner as Buon Appetito.
1609 India St, San Diego, CA 92101
re: El Chevere
a) He didn't understand the market in which he was opening
b) Assumed enough people in SD had been to CHI and were sophisticated enough to understand what he was doing
c) Saw and underserved market and thought his concept would fill a niche
d) Assumed that since the Cubs and White Sox only make the World Series about as often as the Padres, that it was a perfect fit
e) Assumed that since the Bears sometimes make noises about being in contention for the Super Bowl, and the Charges sometimes make noises about being in contention for the Super Bowl that the locals were similar to Chicagoans
f) Not doing enough market research
g) Came in, dropped the concept in place and has since returned to Chicago and lef the place in the hands of local management (who may or may not have been to Chicago)
h) Assumed that San Diego had turned a major food corner and was ready for Chicago style ideas, concepts and food
i) Arrogance. If it worked in CHI it's bound to work in SD
j) All of the above
k) none of the above
Purple Pig is a standalone restaurant (good) vs. his mediocre chain Francescas--I've eaten at a Francesca's in Naperville, IL and was underwhelmed....this place is a lot closer to Francescas than it is Purple Pig. Guess he's expanding too fast. It's ashame, because the design, including outdoor/cabana-like, is nice and I want it to succeed.
Walked by Saturday afternoon, but obviously too early for dinner service. Cute place, look forward to trying it. Also, had a very nice lunch at Davanti Enoteca. Worth a try, but I probably would not go at dinner as they don't take reservations for parties smaller than eight.
Dropped into Davanti a couple of weeks ago to take a look at their menu, though I wasn't looking for a meal at the time.
Was really impressed by its sheer simplicity & authenticity. Impressed enough to take a photo: http://tinyurl.com/3gew7a9
OK all joking aside, here's their real menu: http://tinyurl.com/3v5q8zw