Tag Archives: italian

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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Riva Restaurant

On those very rare occasions when Peter and I have pizza delivered, we either argue over the type of crust to get, or simply order separate pizzas. Peter likes classic “hand-tossed” crust and I prefer a thin crust because it’s less filling, and I admit…. I just care more about the toppings.

When Pizzeria Mozza opened a couple of years ago, we finally found that one pizza that we could agree on and actually enjoy together. Nancy Silverton’s pizza crusts are thick enough on the outside for Peter, yet thin enough on the inside so I don’t feel overwhelmed by dough.

We first went to Pizzeria Mozza on Christmas Eve in 2006, and have tried every pizza on the menu since then. Mozza’s “Gorgonzola, Fingerling Potato and Rosemary” is the one we return to again and again. It’s a real shame they don’t deliver.

Riva, MyLastBite.comLast friday we were invited to dinner by Peter’s friends, Barbara and John. They were in town, from Seattle, looking at colleges with their two teenage kids, Corey and Claire. Peter asked me to make a dinner reservation in Santa Monica (near their hotel) so I decided on Riva restaurant. We hadn’t been to Jason Travi’s Italian eatery yet, so after I made the reservation I started researching the menu online.

The L.A. Times noted that Riva’s menu “plays off the cuisine of the Italian Riviera” and serves delicious crudo (Italian style “sashimi”). I was surprised to read that they don’t serve pasta, but Riva does specialize in pizza. I found several good reviews about the pork lovers pizza called “Molto Maiale”, but it’s when I started reading about the “Patate Semplice” pizza that I began feeling well…. a little guilty. It’s made with potato, rosemary, fontina and sea salt, which sounded very similar to our favorite pizza at Mozza. Should we even try Riva’s potato pizza, or would it be like cheating on Nancy? It took almost fifteen years of “crust fighting” to find a pizza that my husband I both love, so maybe it was best not to test fate by bringing in a new player.

I know what you’re thinking. “It’s JUST PIZZA… GET OVER IT”.

Well, we did… and both of us absolutely loved the Riva potato pizza. To me, the crust seemed a little lighter than Mozza’s version, and the topping was almost custard-like underneath the potato. It was velvety rich and so cheesy that I had to eat it with a fork.

The other pizza we ordered was (of course) the “Molto Maiale” which was topped with sausage, meatballs, pancetta and bacon. After a few bites, we were all in pig heaven.

The L.A. times said it best: “While Pizzeria Mozza still rules, Riva is closing in, and here at least you can get a reservation”.

What we ate:

Riva, MyLastBite.comPatate Semplice Pizza (potato, rosemary, fontina, sea salt) $14

Riva, MyLastBite.com
Molto Maile Pizza (Sausage, Bacon, Meatballs, Pancetta, Caramelized Onion, Tomato) $17

Riva, MyLastBite.com
Molto Maile Pizza (Sausage, Bacon, Meatballs, Panceetta, Caramelized Onion, Tomato) $17

Riva, MyLastBite.com
 Crudo: DELICIOUS cured belly of ocean trout with house made mustard. $9

Riva, MyLastBite.com
Chef Jason Travi

Riva, MyLastBite.com
Chef at the pizza oven

Pastry Chef Miho Travi is a dessert goddess…

Riva, MyLastBite.com
Torta Della Nonna (grandma’s cake) served with roasted pears, caramel ice cream $10

Riva, MyLastBite.com
Ricotta Fritters served with catalan cream foam $9

Riva, MyLastBite.com
Sorbetti e Gelati Trio $8

More photos on Flickr

Riva Restaurant
312 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica
(310) 451-7482
RivaRestaurantLA.com

Dining date: 3/6/09
Thanks Barbara and John, for a wonderful dinner at Riva!

Mentioned Above:
L.A. Times Review of Riva

Pizzeria Mozza

Nancy Silverton

At Mozza
Riva on Urbanspoon

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ChimiTuna Recipe

I love grilling steak and topping it with homemade chimichurri sauce. It’s easy to make and the fresh zesty taste just can’t be beat. Since I usually end up with a little extra sauce the next day, I like using it up on things like a spinach omelette, or layered in a cheese quesadilla.

Chimichurri, MyLastBite.comThe other day I was trying to figure out what to have for lunch and grabbed a package of tuna from my pantry. When I opened the fridge to look for ingredients, I noticed some leftover chimichurri sauce from the night before. Why not mix the tuna and chimichurri? Why hadn’t I tried this before? 

I went ahead and prepped the tuna like I usually do (instructions below), but this time I left out the mayo, mustard and lemon juice. Instead, I mixed in the chimichurri sauce and it was fantastic. I especially liked the lime and the subtle heat of the jalapeno pepper.

Now, when I make chimichurri sauce for steak night, I will definitely make a double batch so I have plenty leftover for a ChimiTuna salad.

For the Tuna Mixture:

1 Package of Albacore Tuna (if using canned, drain first)

1/2 celery stalk, chopped

1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained

1/2 small red onion, diced

For the Chimichurri Sauce:

1 cup packed chopped cilantro

1 cup packed chopped Italian parsley

1 clove of garlic

Zest of 1/2 a lime

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

Diced jalapeno chili (how much depends how spicy you like it)

1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil (more depending how thick you want the sauce. I like it really thick.)

Salt & Pepper to taste

Add all ingredients into Food Processor and pulse until blended

Makes about 1 cup

Combine and Mix:

After you’ve made the tuna mixture, add chimichurri mix one spoonful at a time until it’s to your liking.

Gently mix, cover tightly and chill in fridge for a few hours (so the flavors can marry). I usually eat it with crispy whole-grain crackers or stuffed in a wheat pita.
ChimiTuna, MyLastBite.com

History of Chimichurri Sauce

Chimituna: Chimichurri & Tuna on Foodista

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Chef Michael Young

I first met Chef Michael Young at Sur la Table, when he was my instructor at a Molecular Gastronomy class, and he’s the one I credit for kick-starting my “molecular cooking” Fruit "Caviar", MyLastBite.comobsession. If he didn’t make it seem so fun and attainable, I would have never been able to make fruit “caviar” at home.

Before arriving to the class, I imagined that Chef Young would be an older “scientist-looking” gentleman, or maybe an aloof “know-it-all”, arrogant chef. I couldn’t have been more WRONG. Chef Young was friendly, knowledgeable and I just have to say it… super cute!

My husband just laughed when I made a comment about our “hot” instructor (because I’m old enough to be his mother, well maybe his aunt, okay I’m settling for big sister!), but I thought it was perfect that the teacher showing us how to make molecular candy, was in fact a piece of eye candy himself. And in case anyone is thinking of taking his class for non-molecular reasons, Chef Michael Young does indeed have a beautiful girlfriend. 

Chef Michael Young, MyLastBite.com

A few weeks after the class, Peter and I invited Chef Young out for a bite to eat. It turns out that he lives near us in Studio City, so we met up at Max Restaurant on Ventura. I love the angus burgers and potted chicken liver (that I eat with french fries), and Chef Young hadn’t been there since they remodeled the restaurant. Over dinner (and bottles of wine that he graciously brought to share), we learned that Chef Young graduated (with honors) from Boston College, and holds a degree in Italian Literature. Needless to say he is fluent in Italian and is certified by A.I.S., the Italian Sommeliers Association.

As he was telling us about his cooking experiences in Italy, I realized… he is NOT just a cute, young, up-and-coming chef… he is so much more. Articulate and highly experienced, he is currently preparing for the opening of Domenico Ristorante (as Executive Chef), which is scheduled to open next month in Silver Lake. 

While writing this post I couldn’t remember the details of his work in Italy so I asked Chef Young for a copy of his bio. I blame it on the wine, but it was all so interesting that I wanted a recap :

While his name may be misleading, Michael Young is an American chef of Italian descent.  He speaks Italian fluently and has traveled and worked extensively throughout Italy, including the 2-star Michelin “Ristorante Ambasciata.”  He lived in and frequently revisits Parma, the gastronomical capital of Italy.  “While I am Southern Italian in my heart, living in Northern Italy gave me a whole different perspective.”  Michael attributes his skill at making homemade pasta and his never ending love and appreciation of charcuterie, cheese and mostarda to his time in Parma. Chef Michael Young, MyLastBite.comMichael has worked in many of the top Italian kitchens of Los Angeles including Valentino, Il Grano and Drago.  “My proudest moment was opening Piccolo Cipriani (now Piccolo) with Stefano DeLorenzo and Antonio Mure`.  It was wonderful to see a restaurant so true to its ideals open and blossom.” Most recently, Michael served as a Chef Instructor at the Le Cordon Bleu program in Pasadena, where he taught International Cuisine and helped run the school restaurant.  He also served as a point person for guest chefs from Italy and France.  “The highlight of my teaching experience was to work side by side with my idol and close friend Daniel Rossi (former chef of Citrus).” Michael identifies his role models as Piero Selvaggio, Angelo Auriana and Salvatore Marino.  “Piero showed me what it means to be the constant professional and to remain sincere in all things.  Angelo (longtime chef of Valentino) taught me how to run a kitchen.  Finally, Sal demonstrated that if you do things the right way and work as hard as you can, people will eventually take notice.” 

I’m so looking forward to the opening of Domenico Ristorante because I haven’t yet tasted Chef Young’s cooking, and you can bet my husband and I will both be there as soon as it does!

Domenico Ristorante
1637 Silver Lake Boulevard
Los Angeles 90026

Sign up for restaurant news and updates here:
http://DomenicoRistoranteSilverlake.com/

Sur la Table Cooking Classes

The Molecular Gastronomy Class
Molecular Gastronomy Class, MyLastBite.com

My Fruit “Caviar”

Update 5/3/09: Domenico Ristorante is OPEN

chef michael young domenico ristorante silverlake silver lake

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Filed under Eating Out, Food Events (festivals, classes, etc.), Molecular Cooking

Terroni

Favorite Bites at Terroni

Terroni Los Angeles, MyLastBite.com
Arancini, Risotto Balls with cherry tomatoes and olives.
Deep-fried, cheesy rice goodness.

Terroni Los Angeles, MyLastBite.com
Bucatini all’Amatriciana, pasta, onions, tomato sauce, olive oil and pecorino cheese. Note: Bucatini is a long, hollow pasta (and my favorite).

C’t Mang Pizza, a white pizza with fresh pears, mozzarella, gorgonzola, walnuts and speck (smoked prosciutto). I know it sounds a little strange, but it’s delicious!

Terroni
7605 Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA
(323) 954-0300

Website (L.A.)

Terroni Menu (pdf)

Fun Fact (from the main website): “The name Terroni served as a brazen wink to the industrial Italian north where people often use the derogatory term when referring to their southern neighbors”

Thanks Marty!

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