Finally, Domenico Ristorante in Silver Lake is open!
I first met the restaurant’s executive chef last December, when I attended a molecular gastronomy class he taught at Sur la Table (at the Grove). Chef Michael Young spoke about his passion for Italian cooking, but the various classes I took from him were mostly about making groovy foams and far-out spherifications. I was really looking forward to trying his authentic, Italian FOOD, not just the modern recipes we made together in class. And finally, five months later, I got my first taste.
After making the reservation for Saturday night, I suddenly felt a little nervous. What if, by chance, I didn’t like Chef Young’s cooking? Just because I thought he was a great instructor and could make perfect fruit “caviar”, didn’t automatically mean that he’d be a great chef too.
The motto for my blog is: “If I like it, I share it… If I don’t, I don’t!”. Which means, if I don’t like something I’ve tasted on a restaurant’s menu, then I simply don’t write about that particular dish. Someone once told me that I’m “doing a disservice to the public” if I only write about positive experiences, but that’s just who I am, and I want my site to reflect that. I feel so grateful that I get to eat at all these wonderful places, and my favorite part (besides the actual eating) is sharing all the tasty photos. Plus, I figure with so many bloggers writing about the same restaurants in Los Angeles, it’s easy to figure out what dishes NOT to order.
We had a 7pm reservation on Saturday night, but Peter and I arrived early so I could take a few photos of the restaurant exterior. Our friends Julian and Wendy joined us a few minutes later, and soon we were nibbling on fried olives and sipping glasses of luscious primitivo wine. The restaurant doesn’t have a liquor licence yet, but you can bring in your own wine with no cover charge (for the time being).
A Mano primitivo wine is our favorite Italian red, and we first learned about it from the great Mario Batali himself. He recommended it during a seminar we went to in New York, and it’s been a staple in our home ever since. Not only is it deliciously robust (think zinfandel), but at $10 a bottle we can afford to drink it all the time.
Looking over the menu, I wasn’t sure what to order at first. Domenico Ristorante is so new that I found barely a “yelp” online. One thing I did read about was the “wild boar ragu” so I definitely wanted to try that, but overall I felt lost without my regular “must order” list for the evening. Peter was in worse shape than me, since he never even looks at a menu when we go out. I’ve usually selected what we’re sharing ahead of time, and he actually likes not having the pressure of deciding.
The restaurant’s owner, Domenico Frasca, must have noticed we were a bit perplexed, and asked, “would you like the chef to select dishes for you”? The four of us giggled with anticipation as we handed over the menus. We spent the next three hours happily working our way through Prosciutto Riserva, Fried Parmesan with Balsamic, Crudo of Scottish Halibut, Risotto with Winter Truffle, Rootbeer-braised Kobe Beef, the Wild Boar Ragu and more!
Dinner wasn’t just “great”, the entire evening was exceptional: From the sexy decor (white, leather banquets), to the gorgeous waiters (I only remember Paolo’s name because he wrote it down along with the name of a pasta), to the friendly and cordial Domenico himself. Of course, it’s Chef Michael Young’s cooking that will have me coming back for more, and you can bet I’ll be trying each and every positively delicious bite on the menu!
Charcuterie: Salame Felino, Parmigiano Stravecchio, Prosciutto Riserva,Parma Butter, Horseradish Pesto and Mostarda Mantovana
Fluke: Crudo of Scottish Halibut, Tuscan Chickpea Salad
Fried Parmigiano with 30 yr old Balsamic Vinegar
Pastificio Gragnano Fusilloni with Wild Boar Ragu
Risotto with Asparagus, Black Winter Truffle and Quail egg
Rootbeer -braised Kobe Short Rib, Sweet Corn Polenta, Horseradish Foam
Torta della nonna (Ricotta Pinenut Tart)
Rasberry chocolate tart, Chantilly cream, Rasberry Sugar
Chef Michael Young speaking to my husband Peter
In the kitchen with Chef Eliazar and Domenico Executive Chef Michael Young
1637 Silver Lake Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026
Sur la Table Classes (locations & calendar)
20 responses to “Domenico Ristorante”
What a great review! Glad to hear that the wait for Domenico was worth it. I love the mix of old + new ingredients (Polenta and foam, horseradish pesto, etc.). That’s a chef who loves traditional ingredients, but is not afraid to take chances with new preparations and ideas.
Staying positive is key, and it makes your blog special. Focusing on the good stuff, right? We know there are bad dishes out there. No need to dwell on them.
Every blog you post makes me wish my computer screen had a component that would provide a “smell and taste” box next to each photo! Also it’s easy to blog in the negative, but why not showcase the dishes that propel you to engage your amazing writing ability! Besides, just because a blogger may not like a certain dish, doesn’t mean that someone else won’t like it. Everyone has different tastes. I think what you’re doing is a HUGE service to people who want to learn about new restaurants, tastefully prepared dishes and up & coming chefs! Bravo to you!
looks like a fantastic little spot right there in silver lake, and only a hop skip away from me! thanks for the initial review.
Wow…thanks for that write-up. I’ll have to put this place on my dinner night out list. The food looks wonderful. I’m pretty close to Silverlake, too. So it seems worth the short drive up.
This brings back memories of his class!!! Fun…fun… fun…
The food looks amazing! You did an awesome review Jo.
Glad you did a peek at the interior, I love the Chandelier!!!!!!
Oooh, this place looks lovely. How do the prices compare to place like Osteria Mozza?
Gastronomer, I haven’t been to Osteria Mozza since it opened (prefer the pizzeria), but I’m thinking the prices are similar. The boar pasta was $21 and salumi was $16.
Looks great. I actually passed by on my way to Reservoir the other night and was like, whoa?! I’m going there for sure now.
Oh my gawd, fried olives! I first had those in Spain years ago. I was hoping I wouldn’t like them because, well, they’re fried olive. That can’t be the healthiest thing in the world, right? But of course, I LOVED them, and even asked for seconds.
So I have to know: Did the root beer-braised Kobe short ribs actually taste a little of root beer? 🙂
Hi Carolyn, I really didn’t taste root-beer, but then again I was all about the horseradish foam!
I just returned from my first meal at Domenico’s. I echo all your positive comments! It was fabulous! One thing happened that I think points out why our evening was so special. The first course we shared was the Beef Carpaccio (Filet, Asparagus, Black Truffle & Boschetto cheese). I asked the waiter what the crunchy salty pieces on the carpaccio were. He had the chef come out and talk with me. It was Sicilian Sea Salt! The chef was so delighted that I had noticed a small but superb ingredient, that he gave me a little container of the salt to take home. Now that’s good service and what makes this such a special dining spot. I am fortunate to live within walking distance of this little gem of a restaurant! It’s not cheap, but worth every penny!
That totally sounds like chef Michael Young!
Just a couple more comments, as I can’t stop thinking about my fabulous dinner there 2 nights ago. In addition to the Carpaccio, we had the Italian Spaghetti w/Guanciale, Quail Egg Yolk, & Parmesan,
Wild Boar Pasta (generous serving!), Osso Buco w/Saffron Risotto and the Lavender Panna Cotta. It was all superb (I make a great Osso Buco myself, and this was the best I’ve had!) I would recommend getting there before they get their wine license, as corkage is currently free! That way those of us on a budget can save a few bucks!
I think this is Silver Lake’s best spot, and I bet Ms. Virbila gives it 3 stars!
DEFINITELY need to check that out next time I’m in LA! Which, hopefully, will be soon.
Where did you buy A. Mano Puglia Primitivo? Thnx.
In L.A. I find it at Vendome liquor and Cost Plus World Market. Call ahead to make sure they have it in stock.
The two locations I shop:
11555 Ventura Blvd
Studio City, CA 91604
Cost Plus World Market
15201 Ventura Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
I made Osso Buco last weekend, and served it with A Mano Primitivo (from Cost Plus). Thanks very much for the recommendation. It was perfect and the price is certainly right!
Well, Mario Batali recommended it a conference and I figured he would know his Italian wine! So glad you enjoyed it. We always have it in the house.
Had brumch there today and loved every bite. So glad you liked it too!
Robert and I had our Valentine’s dinner (2/14/10 that is!) last night and oh-my-god was it amazing. We both LOVED every bite. I hadn’t seen this post before we went but there it is posted on the Domenico Ristorante website. If you ever want to go again we’re in!