I have not seen a review for this place in a long time, and somehow I had not ever eaten at Tanino, the Drago family outpost in Westwood Village, until this week. I think it was probably Eric Archer's post inquiring about the Dragos' respective holdings, that finally induced me to Tanino's namesake establishment yesterday for lunch.
It is certainly one of the prettier spaces in the Village, and the service was attentive. I had a cheesy mushroom soup that was nice but not spectacular, followed by tortelloni stuffed with pumpkin in a sage-cream sauce--faintly sweet, very very tasty and savory. At this point I was pretty happy.
I had a long manuscript to review, so I decided to linger, looked at the dessert menu, and told the waiter I was between a nut tart and a honey-apricot cheesecake. He strongly recommended the cheesecake so I went with it, and was rather disappointed--it wasn't especially rich, or creamy, or flavorful, and in fact it left some mysterious bad taste in my mouth that didn't go away until dinner (when I finally overrode it with some superb, overpriced Bristol Farms marinated beef kabobs that I grilled on my back yard Captain Cook).
But today, having gotten rid of the unfortunate overhang from dessert, I have to say that the first two courses, especially the tortelloni, were quite good. This meal was certainly not the equal of the excellent lunch I reported at Piccolo Paradiso a few weeks ago, nor does Tanino come up to the standards of Il Moro in the big westside Italian restaurant sweepstakes, but then again the prices are a bit cheaper than either of those. The real reason I wouldn't go more is that when I am in the Village I am rarely looking for a relaxed sit-down meal, and I suspect this may be true for most people. But if you are, this is certainly an option. Just beware the honey cheesecake!
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