VERNETTI ITALIAN RESTAURANT IN LARCHMONT VILLAGE
OWNER/CHEF TAKES A REAL HANDS ON APPROACH
What is one of the favorite Italian restaurants in Larchmont Village of such luminaries as Matt Damon and Eric Garcetti just to name a few. Steve Vernetti is the larger than life hands on chef who loves cooking, and his hard working team in the kitchen seemed to reflect his passion about the food. Major efforts have been made to bring some little known Italian wines to the menu for a crowd that seems to be a lot more knowledgeable than the average punter.
Like most chefs Vernetti has had a varied career growing up on a ranch in Nevada, and also spending his formative cooking years working in a variety of restaurants in London for six years. That priceless knowledge he picked up there has served him well at his own place, and the local diners are the ones to benefit.
The restaurant holds about 44 inside and about twenty on the outside patio, and with the one year anniversary coming up soon business is looking up considerably. This was the former spot of Girasole , a much loved local eatery in the area for twenty years.
I tried a few appetizers and remember quite fondly the Sage Gnocchi with fresh spinach and house ricotta ($17). Also of note is the Fresh buratta salad with heirloom tomatoes, basil, olive oil, and a reduced balsamic ($16) that you will most likely need to share.
Here are some of the dishes I also tried that deserve to be examined and consumed on your visit to the restaurant. The Ciopinni ($26) is a zesty fisherman’s stew generously adorned with bay scallops, manila clams and octopus all in a rich dinapoli broth. I would also go for the Spaghetti con limone grigliato ($14) with grilled meyer lemon (a particular favorite of the chef), celery leaves, parsley and a delicious calabrian chili.
Octopus is a real specialty of the chef, and his version is cooked with the help of a wine cork, and is served with creamy white beans, fennel and a cabbage slaw ($24). At this time chef Vernetti is also doubling as the pastry chef and is famous on the street for his cheesecake. You have to try it, but even if he has to hire someone to take over for him I am sure he Will still creating this mini-masterpiece.
The wine list is exclusively Italian and there are some real finds on the wine list put together by specialist Adam D’Zurilla and they have many wines by the glass. Flagship wine is the Emidio Pepe Trebbiano d’Abruzzo 2010 along with the Emidio Pepe Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2007. These wines have been in production for almost 50 years in the hills of Torano.
Since the Vernetti family are from Calabria, one of the chef’s favorite wines is the Pecorello Ippolito 2014 and one of the best wines I tried. Lots of citrus and peaches in the profile of the release from the winery that has been around since 1845. Beer is also prominent at the restaurant with a revolving class of IPA selections and micro- brew favorites that include the Peroni Nastro Azzuro lager on tap.
225 N.Larchmont Blvd,
Los Angeles, CA 90004
287 S.Robertson Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211