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Banh Ma Sandwich in West L.A.

There was pate on the "deli". I found the Nom Nom truck to still be lacking -- too much bread to filling ratio. It needed more pickled vegetables and cilantro and the mayo-like substance (that seemed to be only on the char siu) was kind of disgusting. It felt very much like the bahn mi for first-timers.

Sep 09, 2009
brunello in Los Angeles Area

Where to buy a whole pig ??????

Also try Harmony Farms in La Crescenta. Just call first

http://www.harmonyfarmsonline.com/

Aug 10, 2009
brunello in Los Angeles Area

Stefan's LA Farm - First Taste

Those pictures were really worth a 1000 words. What a disappointing result... I had high hopes and anticipation, but alas that is now gone. I was actually heading over on its first day open but changed last minute to another SM restaurant. I'm happy about that now because those dishes would have made for a very depressing evening.

Hopefully Stefan will rethink those dishes (and I don't see anything that I'm concerned about from your review that are from a service or food prep standpoint; none of the food issues will be resolved with time -- it just needs to be re-examined.)

Aug 09, 2009
brunello in Los Angeles Area

Anisette Lunch

Sorry, but I'm going to question your authenticity as I've had the tartare multiple times and the capers are always to the side. There's something suspect about your review or your dining experience.

From my dining experiences (and I've almost been in once a week ever since they've opened), the food has been admirable and completely "French Brasserie" -- nothing faux about it. I'm pleased that Santa Monica has more french places and at a cheaper price point (and open the full day, seeing as my work hours don't fit traditional schedules.)

Oct 26, 2008
brunello in Los Angeles Area

BOUCHON IN LA

There will be a Bouchon Bakery with the Bev Hills outpost. Already part of the announcement.

Jul 18, 2008
brunello in Los Angeles Area

Nobu or Matsuhisa?

Between the two, Matsuhisa even though it's dated. Sushi really isn't the highpoint here as much as the fusion plates. If you're booking, get the "private room" with its own omakase chef (not truly private, since you share the space with a few other diners, but better sushi)

If intent on Nobu, DON"T do Nobu LA. Go to Nobu Malibu. It's a better restaurant all around plus more of the things people go to Nobu for (ie, celeb sightings.)

For great sushi, Urasawa (also the plates here, Masa's protege in his original spot), Zo, Kiriko, Mori, Nishimura. Stay away from Asanebo (never really great), Katsuya (all hype, boring food), Sasabune (past it's prime once moved to it's new place a few years back... might as well be a conveyor belt sushi joint)

If not intent on sushi, hard to miss places are Spago and Providence (2 very Californian places that make them not quite like places in NYC even though there's obviously wonderful food there.)

Jul 08, 2008
brunello in Los Angeles Area

Domed Plate Covers

This smacks of so much cheesiness, but places like Lawry's the Prime Rib did the whole domed covers.

I've been to starred restaurants in France, and they don't do it. First off, it ruins the food (steaming the hot ingredients under a dome?) Today, the kitchen+service prepare accordingly (or in most finer restaurants, will remake plates if the wait is too long for the diner.) It's a courtesy. A few English places I've been to do it, but only for the unveil (which still seems tacky for service.)

Last time I've had this done right was at a private dinner. Even then it was slightly, for lack of other words, disgustly tacky-- And this was done right (only for the point of unveiling the courses to multiple guests.)

Jun 27, 2008
brunello in Los Angeles Area

REVIEW: ANISETTE, ANOTHER VIEW

I want to say there is some mention of hazelnuts. Read carefully and double check/alert the waiter/waitress.

Jun 27, 2008
brunello in Los Angeles Area

3 Square Café-Venice

I like the food in small doses (or with a lot of dry wine/beer). Everything has a sheen of grease that eventually overcomes the food. I'm not against a little fat or melted cheese grease, but they, at some point, run the courses together in a bland kind of way.

Jun 27, 2008
brunello in Los Angeles Area

Hatfield's or JiRaffe? Dinner in Los Angeles Area

Melisse, Providence, et. al are good suggestions. Don't know if they are out of budget though? (the most usually pay for is 2 at which point the cost doesn't bother me too much.)

JiRaffe should be a no go. The last time it was great was 4 years ago. Raphael has been phoning it in for awhile. Melisse (basic courses) is a better meal for near the same money. Hatfields is great for drinks, etc... food is good but the experience is more fun (I don't know what age group the 4 dips down to.) If you go to Spago and sit in the courtyard, you'll have a lovely time. If you want a bit more avant garde, Providence will never disappoint (unless you don't like seafood.) If you enjoy French or Californian, you can't miss with Melisse.

Jun 27, 2008
brunello in Los Angeles Area

places with cheap corkage and decent food?

"And even many places that don't advertise as being wine places and have no liquor license will let you BYOB if you ask, as it's completely legal and no skin off their respective necks."

This isn't actually true, just mostly overlooked. See:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/s...

Jun 24, 2008
brunello in Los Angeles Area

ISO the best orange chicken and chow mein

I second the orange chicken at Chang's in Brentwood. Really good. Don't know of their Chow mein

Sep 15, 2007
brunello in Los Angeles Area

best sushi in santa monica? or best new restaurant?

tengu = awful

Sep 03, 2007
brunello in Los Angeles Area

Just For The Hell Of It: Dinner at Osteria Mozza

How did the scotch go with the fowl? I've tried a few times to pair scotch with food (other than deserts)... failed each time.

Sep 02, 2007
brunello in Los Angeles Area

Good food, good wine, labor day

Need to take out 2 friends for labour day on the westside (specifically Santa Monica and surrounding area)... need suggestions. Biggest problem is it's labour day where many restaurants are closed --- but that also the reason I can get 1 friend to go (usually works everyday.)

Aug 24, 2007
brunello in Los Angeles Area

Big Meat, Big Wine, Big Birthday

Food's not so good at Whist

Aug 23, 2007
brunello in Los Angeles Area

Scene-y Italian

Locanda Veneta on 3rd St. (West Hollywood/Bev Hills)
Locanda Portofino on Montana (Santa Monica)
Via Veneto (Santa Monica)

Then, of course, Valentino (new area is finished with the wine bar area) and Capo (though the interior definitely needs a refresh)

Aug 19, 2007
brunello in Los Angeles Area

Is gourmet L.A. out to get vegetarians? (long)

Craft and Providence have been covered by other posters. Abode does do a vegetarian tasting menu (look where the tasting menu is listed when you go, towards the bottom) and on Wed (like many restaurants in the city) usually features a few vegetarian courses due to the Santa Monica Farmers Market (this applies to the chefs who shop it.)

Aug 19, 2007
brunello in Los Angeles Area

Santa Monica: Breakfast/Brunch on Fri/Sat

Second Cora's and 3 Square.

Omelette Parlor is nothing special but a longtime breakfast place for SM.

Bread & Porridge is highly overrated (and long waits) but it's got the whole Mexican/American fusion breakfast thing down (with healthy sausages.)

John O'Groats is great, but you'll need to grab a cab.

Aug 19, 2007
brunello in Los Angeles Area

LaTerza better than O'Mozza

mayo? raw egg I get but mayo?

Aug 19, 2007
brunello in Los Angeles Area

Jon's Pizza of Bleecker

In the Richie article, one of my pet peeves about Mulberry Street came up. I hate that there's no beer to go with my pizza. I love the Mulberry Bev Hills space, I'd just like to have beer with my slice. I'm glad, though, there will be a Richie's nee Mulberry Street Pizza close to where I work in Santa Monica since their pie has been my go to pizza.

Aug 11, 2007
brunello in Los Angeles Area

Negroni

This is one of the most fantastic apertifs. It always makes me hungry. After particularly large dinners, it makes a great after dinner digestive. I never find it bitter as the bitterness is balanced by the sweet vermouth. If mixed in exactly 1/3 proportions nothing tastes out of place. One extra touch I like is when the bartender caramelizes (blow torch or match) the orange peel garnish before throwing it into the drink.

Pre-food drink shaken, straight-up in a martini glass; post-food or late-night, stirred, on the rocks in an old-fashioned.

Aug 11, 2007
brunello in Recipes

Hostess Sno Balls

I'm trying to websearch for the place but nothing's coming up; then again most patisseries don't list their specialties online.

Only thing coming up is SimonLA (Sofitel Hotel on Beverly) has it on the dessert menu. I'm sure the restaurant would make some to go for sweetslover if asked.

I guess I'm going to have a very fattening weekend visiting my local pastisseries trying to stumble upon them.

Aug 11, 2007
brunello in Los Angeles Area

Birthday Drinks and Food

Closed now. It was just a stand-in place to transfer the ABC license and sell the place to a different conglomerate. A new place will be going in there but I think they're pretty far from opening.

Aug 11, 2007
brunello in Los Angeles Area

Hostess Sno Balls

I don't know if anyone can name the place, but I remember there's a patisserie/bakery in either Westwood or Beverly Hills that makes their own Sno Balls from scratch that are extremely good and look just like the real things (pink version.)

I always remember laughing when I saw them stacked in the display case and the marshmallow coating was so good (had to get them, of course.)

Aug 11, 2007
brunello in Los Angeles Area

Scarboni is over!

Info here:
http://la.eater.com/archives/2007/08/...

I thought Scarboni was an answer to an un-asked question for Santa Monica dining. Hopefully the BBQ place is good. It'd be great to have a soul-food bbq place just off of the Promenade.

Aug 11, 2007
brunello in Los Angeles Area

La Botte - good (not about the wine or the corkage)

Other recomendations, next time you go:

The carpaccio di branzino e ricci di mare (uni). It feels like a hint of ocean which is great after a day spent out at SM's beaches. The cut of the branzino and the layering of flavours is beautiful. It's plated with the white, translucent slivers of branzino overlapping like fish-scales across the plate with small dabs of golden uni spotted to each slice of fish.

The quaglia all griglia con uva, finocchi brasatie e frise. This quail is so good that I've had them make it into a main course for me at Piccolo (sister -- technically mother restaurant to Wilsons in CC and La Botte.) However, La Botte has usually made this dish better than Piccolo. Also, I think grapes should be used more often in cooking and sometimes they have a special of risotto with champagne grapes that is fantastic.

Finally, a recommendation for a main... tagliolini rossi con salsiccia di quaglia e salsa di parmigiano. Their house-made red beet pasta is great and the house-made quail sausage is just as good. The parmesan cheese sauce just makes a meat/pasta dish even richer and creamier. This is a really hearty dish if the weather's been cold.

As for dessert... you've found my favourite with the torta di ricotta.

If there was a place for improvement at La Botte, it would be the bread -- which I find lackluster.

Aug 10, 2007
brunello in Los Angeles Area

Abode--excellent tasting menu

Since you've been for brunch, you should have an idea of price/portion ratio. The size of the portions on the a la carte menu do seem a tad expensive. However, part of that is just being used to being served very large portions (for instance, Melisse serves similar sized portions at similar price/portion ratios) at many "general" restaurants. I can't remember the menus I've had before the recent tasting menu (and since I can't find an online menu, there's nothing to refresh my memory.) Of what I can remember, I did think the pea soup with the chocolate nibs was great. I do remember thinking that the foie gras 4 ways was really rich; other than the traditional seared, the other 3 preparations were exceptionally buttery to the extreme -- I was glad that each portion was small in that sense. I hadn't had any seafood, until this recent tasting menu. I do remember they have a very nice cheese selection in 2 different sized plates by number of choices (either 3/5 or 5/7 -- can't remember), just the smaller would have done me and I ordered the larger. I enjoyed the duck breast (perfectly cooked) with the tea adding smokiness; haven't appreciated the Waygu steak off of the main menu of what I tried (as I wrote above, I don't order waygu steak since I find a steak preparation ill matched for the quality/type of meat, but tried it off of my friend's plate -- tasty, but not my interest)

My rundown of the tasting menu has many items that are adapted/taken from the a la carte menu, so my food preferences should be fairly clear.

Here's another thread with reviews:
http://www.chowhound.com/topics/395091

Aug 09, 2007
brunello in Los Angeles Area

Help me catch up on Restaurants!!!

Saddle Peak Lodge used to serve whale when in season (I don't know if they do anymore) -- they had it sourced legally from native tribes that are granted seasonal hunting passes. It was, of course, cooked but they also used the blubber for a fantastic flavour. This was back when Josie was a chef there, IIRC. I don't remember fishiness when cooked.

Aug 09, 2007
brunello in Los Angeles Area

Help me catch up on Restaurants!!!

It was served in its very large shell (polished up and flipped to make a beautiful bowl in the center of a round table) and there was very little sashimi. I don't speak Japanese so one of the waitresses did the translation between myself and the businessmen. If I remember correctly, most of the turtle was being used to make other dishes but the sashimi came from the legs. It was meaty like a thick cut beef tenderloin (cut 1/4" thick), but the grain was distinctly in one direction. It wasn't "melt in your mouth" but it tore very easily. Flavour was distinct, firmness was of dry aged beef, did have some salt (the Himalayan pink salt they are partial to there), no fishy scent at all. I guess the closest thing it tasted to was alligator (which, I guess, makes sense) but it wasn't quite that either because 'gator is more gamey. The meat was very lean (no marbling.) I'd probably have it again except now I know of conservation efforts. It's a bit like my obsession to one day have ortolan.

Aug 09, 2007
brunello in Los Angeles Area