So last Friday, our friends wanted to go somewhere new for dinner. And by somewhere new they mean, of course, somewhere they haven’t been AND that most of their friends haven’t been AND maybe a place that they hadn’t even heard of but could brag about later because I’m a food blogger, RIGHT?
Well, I could be a crap food blogger, which, the recent record will show, I may well be. (That’s a crap food-blogger, not a crap-food blogger, despite my most recent post.)
But All’ Angelo did me proud.
A word here: At this point, All’ Angelo isn’t exactly new. It’s been open for a year and it’s familiar enough to earn a best new restaurant slot in Esquire. But it’s got a weird location (Melrose just
east west of La Brea, where storefronts are easily overlooked) and a tough gig, since LA has something of a surfeit of Italian restaurants; like mice, they breed.
So this is what happens when you go to All’ Angelo and put the owners in charge:
- Spicy tuna tartare on crispy rice risotto cake
- A puff of cauliflower puree and mascarpone cheese, with a Parmesan cream sauce (looks exactly like a scallop)
- Melty tripe in tomato sauce
- Papparadelle ravioli stuffed with ricotta, chicory and dandelion, with roasted tomaotes
- Angus beef with a smear of a reduction sauce (so simple it could be on almost any menu, but I can’t remember the last one that good)
- Buttermilk panna cotta with fresh blueberry sauce
- Lemon polenta cake with a mascarpone-and-cream brulee
How was it? Pretty great. I liked how Mirko Paderno toggled back and forth between refined (the cauliflower-mascarpone "scallop") and rustic (tripe!). The tasting menu runs $85 per person and portion sizes were kept in line. Stefano Ungaro is a consummate front-of-the-house guy who spends the night running to every table, keeping everyone’s happiness in check.
My only real complaint: Delicious as they were, I would have swapped out one of the five savory courses for something light, even a little acidic — something as simple as arugula with lemon and olive oil. (Yes, I know, would wreak havoc with the wine. But really, would be worth abstaining for a course — gives a breather from all the richness, you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone, etc.)
That said, my friends were duly impressed.
All’Angelo, 7166 Melrose Ave. (323) 933-9540