CLASSIC ITALIAN WITH A CALIFORNIA TWIST
Long Beach,CA(Perfect Meal Today)4/28/14/–Zagat rated this Italian restaurant in the bustling Naples area of Long Beach as the best in the region in 2013 and that might not be far from the truth. Quietly elegant with Frank Sinatra singing in the background gives this place an old fashioned feel but that is certainly not the case with the food. There is also an upstairs patio with live music most nights, although downstairs I could not hear a thing.
Chef in charge is David Coleman who also runs the two other Italian style places very close by in what is becoming a mini-empire by the Long Beach restaurateur Michael Dene who treats most guests as a long lost friend. Service is brisk and very Organized, and the waiters carry flashlights which you can use discreetly unless you are 21 years old or less and can read the menu in the dim lighting.
Sometimes it has hard to get a feel of the food in just one visit, so I picked the brain of the smartly dressed server who was only to keen to give me a detailed rundown.
Consequently I decided to start with the safe bet of the Barabietole E Caprino ($16), a beet salad with heirloom beets, goat cheese mousse, ferro, hazelnut brittle, crispy prosciutto and frisee. A very unique dish. that could have seen more beets and less hazelnut brittle if truth be told, but I would still order it again if need be.
Other non-menu starter I tried was the Ramps smothered in a duck egg, again like the first item highly unusual. I am totally unfamiliar with the Ramp, which is basically a wild onion that grows in the Appalachians and has a limited harvest time which is mainly April. This delicacy is now cropping up in high end restaurants all over.
Main course turned out be the Colorado Lamb Chops ($60) with a pea and mint puree, potato gnocchi and hedgehog mushrooms.. It won over the Duck Breast ($30) and the Branzino ($30) by the narrowest of margins, and it turned out to be a good choice. Four decent sized chops on the rare side in what is quite a substantial dish.
There are four pizzas on the menu all priced at $14, and since one of the restaurants in the celebrated mini-empire is the highly touted Michaels Pizza nearby, I have to assume that the quality is pretty high.
Desserts are a revelation here and the no-brainer selection has to be the wonderful Torta Di Mandori ($10), a sublime almond cake with rosemary cream.
The wine list is extensive of course and specialty cocktails are $12, but that is a story for another time as the food was the focus for this visit.
- HAPPY HOUR: EVERYDAY, 5-7PM 50% Off Selected Beer, Wine By The Glass, and Spirits. Happy Hour is served in the Bar and Lounge areas only.
- EVERY WEDNESDAY, THURSDAY AND FRIDAY COME ENJOY LIVE MUSIC ON THE ROOFTOP PATIO.
5620 East 2nd Street • Long Beach, CA 90803 • 562.439.7080 • Map
Sunday – Thursday 5pm- 10pm Friday & Saturday 5pm – 11pm