Thursday, February 13, 2003

angelini osteria

I'm about to begin the apartment search, making the huge move from Melrose-Fairfax to Venice or Ocean Park. Though I know that there are many fine eating establishments in Venice, one thing that will make me regret the move is the loss of easy, walkable access to Angelini Osteria. This place never disappoints me, food-wise, and last night was no exception. We split a proscuitto di parma, served with a buffalo mozzerella cheese and arugula. Then I ordered a mainstay for me there, the Lasagna Verde, a meat lasagna unlike any you've ever tasted, draped with caramelized basil. Pretty damn good.

I make the special recommendation to go on Sundays, though, because there's a lamb stew special that's one of my favorite dishes in the city.

The downside with Angelini is the seating. It's cramped, and depending on where you're sitting, the acoustics can be awful. I took my father there for Father's Day, we were seated in a two-person at the front, and not only could we barely hear each other, we could hear far too much of the guy sitting to our right. So it goes.

Also, be careful to not confuse Angelini with Angeli, Evan Kleinman's longstanding restaurant on Melrose; odd that an unrelated restaurant would open up five blocks from an Italian restaurant with a similar name that's been around for years, but so it goes. I like Angeli, too, especially the bread and the rustic soups, but Angelini is really in a class by itself -- probably the best pasta in the city, and that includes Drago and Il Pastaio. And price-wise, it's very reasonable -- most pastas for 10-14 dollars, grilled items all around 20. Does that not sound reasonable? Think of it this way: you're going to be paying half of what you'd pay at the Little Door and getting a meal of twice the quality. Stop complaining.

The grilled items are good, but really, go with the pasta. Happy times await, at least await all of us who aren't on the Atkins diet.

Tuesday, February 11, 2003


Walked into Jar last night to find the restaurant pitch dark. An apologetic maitre'd came up to us. "Unfortunately, our power went out ten minutes ago. But we can make you a reservation at Lucques." Then, three seconds later, the power went back on. I guess I have the Fonzie touch.

So we ate at Jar, which was empty except for one other couple. "It's a slow night anyway, because people are saving for Valentine's Day, but the power outage didn't help," said our server, who was gorgeous but, sadly, had a ring on her finger. The food was terrific as always -- it's the Campanile and Jozu's crew chophouse, but I've always done better with the broils and roasts. So after having a tasty grapefruit, onion, and crab salad, we dug into pot roast that was so tender, with creamy horseradish on the side. For our sides -- which is most of the fun -- we had the wonderful garlic fries, and spinach in garlic that wasn't as interesting as I hoped. It's a lovely designed space, and reasonable for a chophouse type restaurants -- most of the meats are 20 to 25 dollars.

In the past, I've had great encounters with the crab deviled eggs, the iceberg wedge salad, and the braised pork belly with kale appetizer.

The space -- the old Indochine and before that, way before that, the Monkey Bar -- has been better utilized here, avoiding claustrophobia and the noise that accompanies it.

Recommended: go right after a power outage there. Great service, and very little competition for waiters' attention.