Where To Eat Dept., Downtown LA: Colori Kitchen

Saturday night felt very much "fooled again!" driving down Olive and looking for the just-opened, 24-hours-a-day-from-here-on-out-we-swear restaurant otherwise known as Mode. And drove right past it, because the block’s only sign of life was Club Galaxy, the place that promises 100 BEAUTIFUL GIRLS.

A second pass found Mode pitch black without so much as a sign saying oops, our bad, see you Monday or any hours at all. (Calling Sunday, the line rang and rang. Ostensibly a 24/7/365 establishment won’t need an answering machine, but maybe throw AT&T the extra $3 a month just in case?)

El_gaucho
8th Street between Olive and Hill, 3/23/2006. Photo by Jeff Seltzer.

I’d probably still be bitching if it weren’t for what was around the corner: Colori Kitchen. There was a review that made it sound not too bad. And by "not too bad," it still shares the block with the venerable Golden Gopher — and Club El Gaucho, the former Hotel Bristol and the current (?) Hotel Lindy.

Turns out, not too bad is sort of great.

Colori is owned by a chef who spent 13 years at Ca’Brea. He’s still working on a wine/beer license. (In the meantime: No corkage!) But spaghetti and meatballs and a penne puttanesca were terrific (pasta the right kind of al dente, sauces that tasted of herbs and garlic and sauteed tomato and onion), as were a thick minestrone (with shell beans!) and a (huh?) tortilla soup. (The free-ranging menu, touching on hamburgers and kebabs, suggests Colori knows its neighborhood. So does the schedule: lunch only M-Th, lunch/dinner Friday, dinner only Saturday, closed Sunday.)

But I’m burying the lede: We get the check. And it’s $20.08.

Yeah, pasta’s not expensive, but twenty bucks for two people is rare — and for anything like a memorable dinner, all but unheard of. It was better than any lunch I’d eaten at Ca’Brea (of which there have been too many) and one person can’t eat there for that price. Certainly not after valet was thrown in. 

We tipped well and walked back to our street-parked car, making plans to find Colori on purpose.

Colori Kitchen, 429 W. 8th St. (213) 622-5950.

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