Restaurants & Bars 2


lil mikey | Nov 13, 2002 03:05 PM

Sure fire technique for the people you’re waiting for to show up: Order a drink from the bar, and while you’re waiting for the drink to be prepared *POOF* they arrive. At most restaurants, you wait for the bartender to finish, and then go to the hostess, tell her the party’s all there, and carry your drink to your table.

Not at Drago. At Drago, the bartender quickly offers to prepare the drink and take it to your table for you. And such was the beginning of a top-drawer night at a top-drawer restaurant.

We were seated at a table with cloth-slipcovered seats and a rich, thick white cotton tablecloth. The waiter presented us with the menus, as well as a wine list. We looked at the menu and found interesting items to order, but changed up some of them when we heard the specials. The sommelier was helpful in picking out a nice wine to accompany our dinner.

You know, I think I’d be a good sommelier. I like wine, and I love to drink. Can you imagine a life of drinking wine and turning other people on to your favorites? I wonder how you get into this line of work. What a perfect job.

Anyway, we ordered our food, and some nice olive bread was delivered to the table. Soon, our appetizers arrived. My mom had the misto salad, which consisted of several types of leafy greens and three tomato wedges from different heirloom tomatoes. My dad had the tomato and bread soup. Both of these dishes looked really good. I had the beets carpaccio with goat cheese. The beets were sliced ever so thin, and the goat cheese was in a little cake in the center of the plate. It was very creamy and smooth, and the flavor perfectly offset the tartness of the beets. I put a beet slice and a dab of the goat cheese on the provided thin crusty bread, took a bite, and the tastes blended and swirled on my tongue to total satisfaction with every bite. YUM.

For the main course, both mom and dad had the black sea bass, which was prepared with a ginger glaze and served over porcini mushrooms. As a side there was a mixture of asparagus and haricot vert. There wasn’t a crumb left on either plate when done. The servings were a little small, as was mine, but it made no difference. If they got any more, they still would have finished it. It was that good.

I got the tenderloin of veal medallions, wrapped in prosciutto and covered with a nice porcini mushroom sauce. It was served with an ice cream-scooper size dollop of mashed potatoes that were blended with some herbs (may have been some spinach in there), and tastefully crafted to stand guard over the veal medallions without succumbing to the advancing sauce. There were also a couple tender asparagus stems, complete with very tender flowers, and some haricot vert.

The veal medallions were done to perfection. They were extremely tender, and the prosciutto wrapped around them was a little crisp. The saltiness of the prosciutto, coupled with the tenderness of the veal and the wonderful flavor of the porcini mushrooms and sauce was almost too much to take. It was difficult to carry on any conversation at all because the food was so good I didn’t want to stop eating it. As I got to the end of the meat and potato, there was a little porcini mushroom sauce left over for a few dabs with some olive bread before the plate was completely wiped clean. Whew. That was a good dish.

For dessert, my mom had the apple tart, which was a thin pastry with sliced apples and I think either vanilla ice cream or whipped cream on top. My dad had the multi-flavored sorbet dish, which was 3 scoops of different flavored sorbets. I passed on dessert, as I’m trying not to balloon up to the size of a house.

The service was very attentive, but unobtrusive. The bus staff was always right there, and the waiter came over to wish us bon appetit as we started eating. We had to ask for the check, but this was not totally unexpected, as it is the European way.

My only gripe with the place is that you have to pay $4 for parking at the valet. There are lots and streets to park nearby, but there are big signs that they will tow you if you park there. So at least at night, you’re kind of stuck if you don’t want to drive around looking for a place and hoof it in. You’d think they could validate or something. Not a huge deal, but I had to think of something to improve.

I’ll definitely be back to Drago. It’s on Wilshire Boulevard near 26th Street in Santa Monica.

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