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Great Pizza and Italian food now in Brentwood!

l
lapizzamaven Jun 23, 2013 09:59 PM

So, i was driving up Brentwood Place a few weeks ago and saw that Piccolo Ritrovo, that great new restaurant on Sunset in the Palisades has expanded into the old San Gennaro space next to the Brentwood School...not a minute too soon..San Gennaro was tired in the 90s...the pizza oven just went on today with the help of Peppe Miele, VPN America president and his staff, Mario Vollera and Jose Barrios...theyve trained the pizzaioli and tonite i had a perfect pie...Pizza Burrata...simple perfection...Caputo flour, San Marzano tomatoes DiStefano burrata... reminded me very much of the legendary Antica in MDR...naturally, since they trained the pizzaiolo who made my pie...and theres more great news to come from Miele and the staff from VPN...halleleujah! Hey Westsidegal...have you been yet?

 
  1. westsidegal Jun 23, 2013 10:57 PM

    didn't even know about the place.
    THANK YOU for the heads up!

    is the tomato sauce thick like the ones used at stella rosa and milo and olive?
    looking at the picture you posted, it seems like it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: westsidegal
      l
      lapizzamaven Jun 24, 2013 08:39 AM

      westsidegal, i wouldnt say the sauce is thick...just like Antica its just canned San Marzanos...i had a pie great burrata pie in the Palisades my first time, the 2nd pie wasnt quite right at the Palisades branch but last nite on Barrington...perfetto...very nice pastas too!

    2. m
      maudies5 Jun 23, 2013 11:06 PM

      Good news. The only redeeming feature of San Gennaro was that they were pet friendly. Wonder if this is still the case.

      1. i
        ilysla Jun 23, 2013 11:53 PM

        Thanks for the info. Now I just need to make sure I don't go on a weekday night when the traffic north on Barrington is completely terrifying....

        5 Replies
        1. re: ilysla
          l
          lapizzamaven Jun 24, 2013 08:36 AM

          by 7pm the traffic's usually over...im in that area 4 weeknights and i know what ya mean...theres free valet parking, i believe...the other branch of Piccolo Ritrovo is on Sunset in the Palisades with no traffic issues...

          1. re: lapizzamaven
            i
            ilysla Jun 24, 2013 11:08 AM

            Well, there's always the weekend, too. ;)

            What a treat to have another good pizza place on the westside, and I can pick this one up on the way back home! =) Is the pizza a "personal" size (meaning easily finished by one person)?

            1. re: ilysla
              l
              lapizzamaven Jun 24, 2013 08:26 PM

              Ilysla, THe pies are around 14"...this pizza lovin' CH considers that a "personal pizza."also, its traditional Neapolitan and that dont travel well...you really want to eat it right away... in Uriah Heep's and IMHO...

            2. re: lapizzamaven
              m
              maudies5 Jun 24, 2013 12:18 PM

              Now that school is out for the summer, the traffic has definitely thinned out on Barrington.

              1. re: maudies5
                l
                lapizzamaven Jun 24, 2013 08:27 PM

                thats always good news!

          2. i
            ilysla Aug 22, 2013 09:36 PM

            Tried this place tonight. It was absolutely fantastic. We had the papardelle w/ shrimp and clams and the burrata pizza (I had forgottten that that's what lapizzamaven had ordered).

            The papardelle is home made and was wonderful (nicely al dente). No real sauce to speak of, but the juices from the clam and shrimp provided a small amount of broth (which was delicious). Clams were nicely done; shrimp was a bit overcooked but well-seasoned.

            The burrata was SO good. Tomato sauce wasn't overpowering, and the burrata was rich and almost sweet.

            Pinot grigio (carletto?) was really tasty. W/ the coupon (free entree w/ the order of one entree + 2 drinks), it was actually on the cheap side ($48 for 2 entrees, soda, 2 glasses of wine). Will definitely be back, even w/o the coupon.

            Not much business at all tonight at 8PM. =( Hope business picks up b/c the food is great.

            5 Replies
            1. re: ilysla
              d
              Dirtywextraolives Aug 22, 2013 09:53 PM

              Sounds great, we really like the one in the Palisades. Where did you get the coupon?

              1. re: Dirtywextraolives
                i
                ilysla Aug 22, 2013 10:14 PM

                Came in the weekly mail several wks ago. 3 coupons on the sheet, only 1 for dine-in (order 2 beverages, 2 entrees, get the cheaper entree for free).

                The waiter took all 3 coupons! Rrr....

                1. re: ilysla
                  d
                  Dirtywextraolives Aug 23, 2013 10:12 AM

                  Ill have to keep a look out, maybe they just did it for the new location. Anyway, enjoy it, looks like the 'hood finally got a decent pizza place with much more.

                  1. re: Dirtywextraolives
                    Servorg Aug 23, 2013 10:30 AM

                    http://www.bogopod.com/coupons/il-pic...

                    1. re: Servorg
                      d
                      Dirtywextraolives Aug 23, 2013 10:36 AM

                      Thanks for that. Yes, I see it is specifically for the Brentwood location. I have gotten others for the Palisades location.

            2. Ciao Bob Sep 25, 2013 05:05 PM

              Any updates? Think I am gonna check it out tonite>

              20 Replies
              1. re: Ciao Bob
                k
                kevin Sep 25, 2013 05:26 PM

                And forsake Shunji ?

                That may be construed as blasphemy.

                1. re: kevin
                  Ciao Bob Sep 25, 2013 05:39 PM

                  Funny - I was driving by Shunji's today at 4 PM and stopped to say hi to him; and I am going to tomorrow night. I think these gestures may - just may - over come the transgression!

                  1. re: Ciao Bob
                    n
                    ns1 Sep 26, 2013 12:08 PM

                    You know you're a regular when you stop by a restaurant just to say hi to the chef

                2. re: Ciao Bob
                  Servorg Sep 25, 2013 05:30 PM

                  We took my wife's cousin who was on his way back to Tokyo from a conference on the east coast of the US and stayed over for a couple of days with us.

                  It was okay. I didn't try the pizza and my salad and pasta were good, without being great. We sat on the patio against the wall, which as it got dark was very, very dimly lit. To the point where we were dining in the shadows.

                  I would go again to try the pizza to see what it's like, but doubt that I would rush back. The service was good and they are friendly. A "neighborhood" type of joint to me.

                  1. re: Servorg
                    Ciao Bob Sep 25, 2013 10:08 PM

                    Agree with all you say. Pizza is OK. But 800 deg is much better. Everything else average-to-worse. The Carciofi salad was a mess.

                    1. re: Ciao Bob
                      i
                      ilysla Sep 26, 2013 10:04 AM

                      Sorry to hear your experience was pretty poor. I actually think I like the pizza at Ritrovo better, and I really liked the 2 pasta dishes I had. The burrata salad we had was severely under-dressed, but good quality burrata makes everything better, IMHO.

                      My main beef is w/ the service, which seems oddly lacking, even for a place that isn't hugely expensive....

                      1. re: ilysla
                        Ciao Bob Sep 26, 2013 10:55 AM

                        Our carciofi salad was just about 100% completely DRY. It was real weird...we got some EVO-BV and lemon juice and dressed it ourselves. The Salmon Puttnesca was dreadful. But I did enjoy the pizza and the warm pizza bread with tapanade.

                        1. re: Ciao Bob
                          Wayno Sep 26, 2013 11:11 AM

                          Sorry to hear about your experience at the Brentwood outpost of Ritrovo, Bob. I did not hit up the Palisades sibling last night as I thought I might. Instead, I stopped at another neighborhood Italian joint that is only a 2-minute walk from home. It is Casa Nostra, in the Palisades Highlands on Palisades Drive. And I want to briefly hijack this thread to give it some love. It probably wouldn't be viewed as much more special than a neighborhood place, but it really is quite good even if not awe-inspiring or edge-cutting. And it's in a nice setting, far removed from any urban hubbub, overlooking Topanga Canyon State Park. Their meatball appetizer (polpettini) are delicious, the pizza is pretty darn good, and last night I really enjoyed the grilled portobello salad and the eggplant souffle (which wasn't a souffle and I would have preferred if they had fried the eggplant slices to more of a crisp before baking). It's run by lovely people and the atmosphere is very, very pleasant, and they do a pretty brisk business. Worth a detour IMHO.

                          1. re: Wayno
                            k
                            kevin Sep 26, 2013 11:25 AM

                            Did Casa Nostra recently open up ?

                            I haven't heard of it before, but then again it may just be a local joint in the palisades.

                            1. re: Wayno
                              Ciao Bob Sep 26, 2013 11:53 AM

                              A few months ago some friends who live that way were telling me it (Casa Nostra) is an off-shoot of Giorgio Baldi. Or so they were told by "someone." So, I did a little research and found out that someone there, perhaps a principle, was a waiter at GB once upon a time.

                              1. re: Ciao Bob
                                k
                                kevin Sep 26, 2013 12:25 PM

                                Hmm, I don't know what's enough for me.

                                But if they are really hitting up the Giorgio Baldi track of hits, then I'm pretty fucking down.

                                1. re: kevin
                                  Wayno Sep 26, 2013 12:38 PM

                                  I checked the website and it says is that this is the first restaurant they've "owned," and I learned that they now have opened up a Casa Nostra by the Staples Center, right by the Pantry. Maybe that explains why I haven't seen Giovanni, the owner, at the Palisades site lately.

                            2. re: Ciao Bob
                              k
                              kevin Sep 26, 2013 11:23 AM

                              yeah, i'll prolly skip this place. There's way too many places to hit up these days.

                              And a few that requires myriad return visits such as Shunji's (damn, i wish that joint was my commissary).

                              1. re: kevin
                                Wayno Sep 26, 2013 11:33 AM

                                I don't think Casa Nostra has been there very long, but it's not brand new either. It's way up Palisades Drive in a totally residential area, 2.5 miles from the nearest other restaurant (Chez Mimi and Taste and a soon-to-open sushi place, all in the strip center at the corner of Palisades Dr. and W. Sunset). I am so glad it is there, just a stagger away from the crib.

                                1. re: Wayno
                                  d
                                  Dirtywextraolives Sep 26, 2013 06:36 PM

                                  It's been there at least three years, maybe more....

                              2. re: Ciao Bob
                                i
                                ilysla Sep 26, 2013 11:54 AM

                                Bleh. That's too bad. I felt very badly for my friend when I noticed he didn't finish his pasta (he and his wife had driven all the way from Calabasas, and the dinner wasn't cheap by any means b/c of the pasta specials). I thought the seafood pasta (papparelle?) was pretty good. But perhaps the menu is more extensive than they can handle. =(

                                Haven't been to the Palisades one, but I like the Brentwood one for similar reasons to Wayno. That part of Barrington is usually a traffic nightmares, but it's actually kind of charming and romantic at night when all the cars disappear.

                                Hopefully they can get their act together. Wondering if I should contact the restaurant to complain about the dry salads and the off-putting service (which I've never done b/f.... but I really felt sort of embarrassed for the restaurant regarding the service).

                                Didn't realize the owner was the same one as the Brentwood Spumoni. I really liked the SFV one, but my understanding is that they have different owners and that the Brentwood one (as maudie5 points out) doesn't get very good reviews.... =(

                        2. re: Ciao Bob
                          Wayno Sep 25, 2013 05:34 PM

                          I've been meaning to try the Palisades branch of Ritrovo now that I live up there. Maybe I will stop in tonight on the way home. But I noticed the other day that there are For Sale (or For Lease?) signs all over the Ritrovo building in Palisades, so I'm wondering if its future is limited and only the Brentwood operation will endure. Or, maybe it's just that the building will have new ownership but the restaurant will remain as a tenant. Hope so. I'll bet DirtyWEO, who knows all things Palisadic, can answer this one.

                          1. re: Wayno
                            k
                            kevin Sep 25, 2013 05:43 PM

                            Paging Dirty Sexy Olives on this.

                            1. re: Wayno
                              d
                              Dirtywextraolives Sep 26, 2013 06:33 PM

                              I think they've been trying to lease out the upstairs part of the building for a while. Haven't been back in a while, if I see the owner around town or at school I will ask him.

                            2. re: Ciao Bob
                              i
                              ilysla Sep 25, 2013 05:57 PM

                              Went last wk. I enjoyed the pasta special (made in a big wheel of pecorino + shaved truffles and, unfortunately, truffle oil). My partner had the branzino which was fine but not amazing. My friend had a pasta dish that looked like it had vegetables and sausage (can't remember the name); he didn't finish it.

                              The panna cotta was very tasty; the ricotto cheesecake, less so. Not happy that my partner ordered a specific white wine that was on the menu, and the waiter only informed us that he had substituted another brand only after we commented that it tasted different. Actually, that last point had me pretty miffed.

                              Agree w/ Servorg that this is more of a neighborhood joint.

                            3. c
                              carter Sep 26, 2013 09:18 AM

                              As to the ownership, Nando Silvestri is the owner, and he still owns the Spumoni on Montana Avenue in Santa Monica, and formerly owned the Tutto Bene in Malibu from late 90s to about 2003 or 2004.
                              Used to have Ritrovos in the west SFV, as well as Spumoni in Sherman Oaks.
                              So if you notice any similarities, that is why.

                              11 Replies
                              1. re: carter
                                m
                                maudies5 Sep 26, 2013 11:08 AM

                                Not exactly a ringing endorsement. The Spumoni in Brentwood recently closed as it was dreadful.

                                1. re: maudies5
                                  k
                                  kevin Sep 26, 2013 11:24 AM

                                  I do know some that liked Spumoni.

                                  To each their own.

                                  But then again we are hounds, the 1/10 of 1% of the population at large.

                                  1. re: maudies5
                                    c
                                    carter Sep 26, 2013 11:38 AM

                                    Maybe this is its relocation, at maybe even cheaper rent, and definitely a different name.

                                    1. re: carter
                                      l
                                      lapizzamaven Nov 26, 2013 05:47 PM

                                      update: kind of amazed and yet, not so...Ritrovo was very recently sold and is now Piccolo Verde...it was on the inconsistent side...not sure the owner was on his toes...they still have wonderful Neapolitan pizza ovens...hope the new people know how to use it!

                                      1. re: lapizzamaven
                                        i
                                        ilysla Nov 26, 2013 10:30 PM

                                        Agreed. First visit was fantastic (at least in terms of the food), second visit was a mix of good and bad. Service both times was shockingly unpolished for the location and price.

                                        Does anyone know anything about the new restaurant.

                                        1. re: ilysla
                                          l
                                          lapizzamaven Nov 27, 2013 06:04 PM

                                          havent been since the new ownership took over...i know the resto biz is tough but these people had been in the biz a long time...hard to believe how seemingly incompetent some aspects of the experience were...

                                          1. re: lapizzamaven
                                            i
                                            ilysla Nov 27, 2013 07:11 PM

                                            Oh, they were? Some of the service issues were unforgiveable then, esp at the price point (for some of the more expensive items). Have to admit that I haven't been inclined to go back since my last visit. Underdressed salad, my friend didn't finish his pasta (and he's not picky), and the waiter served my partner a different wine WITHOUT TELLING HIM FIRST. The pasta special was good, though, as were the desserts, which sort of salvaged the evening. I felt fairly embarrassed b/c my friends had driven a considerable distance....

                                            1. re: ilysla
                                              k
                                              kevin Nov 27, 2013 08:50 PM

                                              Sux.

                                              What desserts did you have ?

                                              I guess I will stay away.

                                              1. re: kevin
                                                j
                                                jessejames Nov 27, 2013 11:56 PM

                                                Olio

                                                1. re: kevin
                                                  i
                                                  ilysla Nov 28, 2013 12:22 AM

                                                  Oy. It was a few months ago. I want to say the panna cotta and a tart? Whatever, it was good, but not stellar (b/c I otherwise would've remembered....).

                                                  The pizza dough was good enough. Perhaps stick w/ that?

                                          2. re: lapizzamaven
                                            Ciao Bob Nov 27, 2013 10:49 AM

                                            "hope the new people know how to use it" - ME TOO - it is a great looking oven!

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