Friday, August 03, 2007
While I like Italian cuisine, I don’t generally go out of my way to choose it for a restaurant outing, but when I do, the food has to be really outstanding for me to want to return. There’s been a couple that I liked and would go back if I was in the mood, but so far, there’s only been one that has made me a repeat customer for over 3 years. With my recent dinner at All’Angelo, my short list of favorite Italian restaurants definitely increased by one and rightly so.
Our evening started with our group ordering a record 8 appetizers. Suffice to say that everything was described so deliciously on the menu that the orders couldn't stop coming out of our mouths once our waiter showed up, pen in hand. Of all the appetizers that graced our table, I sampled three of them and Mama Mia, they were absolutely wonderful.
First, there was the Octopus Carpaccio with Tomatoes in Pizzaiola. The presentation alone was very eye-catching with a beautiful geometric pattern of thinly sliced octopus lying delicately across the plate. After taking a bite, I was happily surprised at how tender and moist the meat was. My previous experience with octopus was eating it as part of a Korean casserole and at that time, I found it to be a tasty, but very chewy experience.
Second, I delighted over the creaminess of the Timbale of Cauliflower with Mascarpone Sauce and I really enjoyed the Grilled Radicchio, which was both slightly bitter, but also had a hint of sweetness from the caramelization that occurred from the grilling.
A highlight of the evening was the salumi plate filled with delicious meats freshly cut from their vintage slicing machine displayed proudly next to the bar. By the way, we had to order this off the menu and at $25, it was worth it.
For my entrée, I had the Crusted Venison Loin, Wild Mushroom Ragout & Gnocchetti and it was wonderful. The venison was cooked perfectly. It was tender, moist and didn't have a strong gamey taste to it and was complemented by the lovely "woodsy" flavor of the wild mushroom sauce.
I also had a bite of the Calmaro Stuffed with Shrimp & Eggplant in Tomato Stew. Once you get over the shock of being presented with "stuffed torpedoes", it was quite tasty and thankfully, the squid was prepared just right without any chewiness to the meat in evidence.
There's always room for dessert and my meal ended with the Caramelized Meyer Lemon & Polenta Pudding with Lemon Sabayon. I've done my share of dessert eating over the years, but this sweet offering is decidedly one of my favorites so far. Its nutty, tart-sweet flavors combined with a textured-creamy consistency really made my taste buds sing and while I never like to order the same thing twice when I re-visit a restaurant, I may have to make an exception in this case.
Overall, the food was absolutely wonderful as was our service, which was both prompt and friendly. Like I said earlier, All'Angelo certainly won me over and is one Italian restaurant that I will be visiting on a more regular basis, or at least, as much as my pocket book will allow.
7166 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90046