Tag Archives: drago

Drago Centro

My husband Peter and I finally made it downtown for dinner last Thursday. We keep meaning to spend more time in DTLA (DownTown LA), but it took “DineLA Restaurant Week” to get us to check out the sleek and sexy Drago Centro.

The special DineLA menu at the Italian hotspot offers three courses for $44, which is a great bargain (and very filling), but as usual we ordered some extras from the regular menu as well. The three of us (including our friend Laurieann) shared every dish, and now I can’t wait to go back and try the things I missed!

Drago Centro, MyLastBite.comIf you’re not familiar with Drago Centro, here’s what Jonathan Gold wrote about the restaurant in LA Weekly:
“Planted at the base of a formerly sterile office plaza, Centro may be the grandest new restaurant in this neighborhood since the early 1980s, a sprawling former bank space blown out into a double-height modernist dining room, punctuated in the middle by a glassed-in wine vault…”

I have to admit, sitting in the main dining room, near the enormous glass wine room was sort of powerfully intoxicating… but then again, it could have been the red wine and grappa!

All around it was a fun evening, especially spending time with sommelier Michael Shearin and our terrific server, Stefano. Make sure you ask for them if you plan on eating there soon (which you should)!

What we ate:

Drago Centro, MyLastBite.com
Amuse Bouche: Bocconcini with Pesto Mousse (compliments of the chef)

Drago Centro, MyLastBite.com
La Pancetta Brasata: Pork Belly, Farro, Spinach, Blueberries (Regular Menu $14)

Drago Centro, MyLastBite.com
La Burrata, Tomatoes, Olive Oil, Crostino (Regular Menu $13)

Drago Centro, MyLastBite.com
Top: Antipasto Plate: Roasted peppers, Radicchio, Speck, Eggplant Puree, Burrata and Gnocco Fritto
Bottom: Garganelli, Veal Bolognese. (Both on DineLA Menu)

Drago Centro, MyLastBite.com
Smoked Salmon, Cauliflower Panna Cotta, Fennel (on DineLA Menu)

Drago Centro, MyLastBite.com
Braised Veal Cheeks, Endive, Parsnips, Almonds (on DineLA Menu)

Drago Centro, MyLastBite.com
Pork Belly Risotto, Rapini, Radicchio (on DineLA Menu) and yes it’s true… we ordered TWO pork belly dishes (so GOOD!)

Drago Centro, MyLastBite.com
Crispy Chicken, Assorted Beans & Veg (on DineLA Menu)

Drago Centro, MyLastBite.com
Desserts: Top Left: Mascarpone Semifreddo with Strawberries and Basil.
Bottom Left: Chocolate Coffee Cake, Vanilla Cream.
Right: Prosecco Mousse, Fennel Crumble, Citrus (All on DineLA Menu)

Drago Centro, MyLastBite.com
The custom-built glass wine vault.

Drago Centro, MyLastBite.com
Drago Centro’s private dining room with exhibition kitchen (in the former bank vault).

Drago Centro, MyLastBite.comDrago Centro
525 S. Flower St #120
Los Angeles, CA 90071
(213) 228-8998
Website

Dining Date: 10/08/09

Jonathan Gold, LA Weekly

Follow Drago Centro on Twitter

Follow Michael Shearin, Sommelier on Twitter

Drago Central, Private Dining

DineLA Restaurant Week

Photo above right: Grappa flavored with Chamomile made by Marolo

Drago Centro on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Eating Out

Domenico Ristorante

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.

Domenico Ristorante, MyLastBite.comAfter 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.

Domenico Ristorante, MyLastBite.comWe 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!

Domenico Ristorante, MyLastBite.com
Menu

Domenico Ristorante, MyLastBite.com
Charcuterie: Salame Felino, Parmigiano Stravecchio, Prosciutto Riserva,Parma Butter, Horseradish Pesto and Mostarda Mantovana

Domenico Ristorante, MyLastBite.com
Fluke: Crudo of Scottish Halibut, Tuscan Chickpea Salad

Domenico Ristorante, MyLastBite.com
Fried Parmigiano with 30 yr old Balsamic Vinegar

Domenico Ristorante, MyLastBite.com
Pastificio Gragnano Fusilloni with Wild Boar Ragu

Domenico Ristorante, MyLastBite.com
Risotto with Asparagus, Black Winter Truffle and Quail egg

Domenico Ristorante, MyLastBite.com
Rootbeer -braised Kobe Short Rib, Sweet Corn Polenta, Horseradish Foam

Domenico Ristorante, MyLastBite.com
Torta della nonna (Ricotta Pinenut Tart)

Domenico Ristorante, MyLastBite.com
Rasberry chocolate tart, Chantilly cream, Rasberry Sugar

Domenico Ristorante, MyLastBite.com
a peek at the interior

Domenico Ristorante, MyLastBite.com
Chef Michael Young speaking to my husband Peter

Domenico Ristorante, MyLastBite.com
Chef Eliaza

Domenico Ristorante, MyLastBite.com
In the kitchen with Chef Eliazar and Domenico Executive Chef Michael Young

Domenico Ristorante
1637 Silver Lake Blvd. Los Angeles, CA  90026

Website

(323) 661-6166

Dining Date: 5/9/09

More about Chef Michael Young

Molecular Gastronomy Class

Sur la Table Classes (locations & calendar)

A Mano Primitivo Wine 

Mario Batali

On L.A. Times

The Grove

About Silver Lake

Domenico Ristorante on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Eating Out

Great Chefs of L.A. 2008

Last week I attended the 22nd Annual Great Chefs of Los Angeles event. It was held nearby at CBS studios, and the proceeds went to the National Kidney Foundation.

Participating Chefs (and Restaurants) included: The Event Host – Govind Armstrong (8oz. & Table8), Chef of Honor – Gino Angelini (Angelini Osteria and La Terza,) Neal Fraser (Grace & BLD), Celestino Drago (Drago Restaurant), Frank Leon (La Loggia), Andrew Steiner (Andrew’s Cheese Shop), our friends Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook (Animal) and many more. 

Unfortunately for me I came down with a stomach flu a few days before the event, which is a food writer’s worst nightmare for sure. Luckily what I also had was my firefighter-in-training, eating-machine nephew Cody joining me, so it was a fun afternoon watching him enjoy all the things I couldn’t.

Of the few bites I did take, my favorites were the Apple Pie “Cappuccino” from The BLVD, Timanoix Cheese from Andrew’s Cheese Shop and the tummy comforting Grilled Cheese with Pulled Shortribs from 8oz.

Cody really loved EVERYTHING and said his favorites were the Kataifi-Wrapped Langoustine in a Poached Lettuce Cream Sauce by La Loggia, and the Duck Confit from The Blvd. We both loved Animal’s Pork Belly & Kimchee which we always order at the restaurant.

Smoked Scallops, MyLastBite.com
Smoked Scallop Carpaccio with Pomegranate Seeds by Panzanella Restaurant

Wild Boar, MyLastBite.com
Wild Boar with Soft Polenta topped with Fig Sauce by Drago Restaurant

Crab Salad Spoons, MyLastBite.com
Dungeness Crab Salad with a Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette by Grace Restaurant

 Langoustine in a Poached Lettuce Cream Sauce, MyLastBite.com
Kataifi-Wrapped Langoustine in a Poached Lettuce Cream Sauce by La Loggia Restaurant

Apple Pie Cappuccino, MyLastBite.com
Apple Pie Cappuccino and Duck Confit with Potato Wrapper from The BLVD at the Beverly Wilshire

Grilled Cheese w/ Pulled Shortribs, MyLastBite.com
Grilled Cheese with Pulled Shortribs from 8oz.

Animal's Pork Belly, MyLastBite.com
Animal’s Pork Belly

Animal's Pork Belly, MyLastBite.com
Pork Belly & Kimchee by Animal

Chef Vinny Dotolo, MyLastBite.com
Chef Vinny Dotolo, Animal

Cody and Rick Baker, MyLastBite.com
Cody with Special Effects Master, Rick Baker

 Thomas Lennon, Cody, Jeff Garlin, MyLastBite.com
Thomas Lennon (Reno 911), Cody, Jeff Garlin (Curb Your Enthusiasm)

Event Date: Sunday November 9, 2008, CBS Studios (Radford).

More about the Kidney Foundation

Restaurant & Food Links:

Andrew’s Cheese

Animal

Drago

Grace

La Loggia

Panzanella

8oz. Burger Bar

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Filed under Food Events (festivals, classes, etc.)