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Restaurants & Bars 1

Amici Brentwood review (longish)

LAmonkeygirl | Mar 24, 200401:30 PM

Went to the newest outpost of Amici last night. When we arrived by 7 pm, it was packed. We had a reservation, so we waited in the bar area for our table to be ready. I saw a few people dining at the bar. We were a party of seven, including an 8-year-old and a 12-year-old, and in about 10 minutes, they seated us at a round table right next to the bar. My bf got the short end of the stick and wound up with his back to the entrance to the bar, so he got bumped a few times duing the course of the evening.

The service was very attentive. We were given a bottle of flat and a bottle of sparkling water right away (they kind of hustled us into the bottled water, which I didn't care for) and the bread basket was refilled three times. Served with the bread were dishes of checca (chopped tomatoes and basil) and a cannelini bean spread that my bf's dad wolfed down--everyone else liked it, too.

The bf started with the caesar salad, which was spread out on a plate rather than heaped up, and it was quite good. I had the organic lentil soup with chopped fresh spinach sprinkled on top. The lentils were tasty, I think they were de Puy, small and peppery. I could easily make a lunch out of it with bread and salad. The 12-year-old had a half-sized salad, and someone else had the artichoke salad, which she said was a little plain for her liking.

Trying to keep it light, I had an appetizer for my dinner. In this case, it was the crab cakes, which I enjoyed quite a bit. Moist and flavorful. They were made with arborio rice and came nestled on some salad greens. Another person at our table also had the crab cakes for her entree. The bf had osso bucco, which was meaty and rich. The bf's dad had an ahi tuna steak, which he described as somewhat dry, though it improved as he moved into the thicker portions of it. Both kids had penne with chicken and broccoli in a pink tomato sauce, and seemed to like it very well.

Dessert was a nice goblet of tiramisu--not extraordinary, but certainly capable. Someone had almond cheesecake, which wasn't chilled, so it was quite rich and smooth. I couldn't detect much almond in it, but cheesecake fans should like it.

It had emptied out quite a bit by the time we left, around nine or so. Later diners should do okay without a reservation, but if you plan to go earlier, I'd say book a table.

Overall, pleasant, not outrageously great, but solid and usually on the nose. Very noisy, best with smaller groups that can lean close to hear each other. Also, while they were very friendly towards the kids, it isn't a place I would recommend for families. The 8-year-old was bored, shifting around in her seat a lot, so I gave her some paper and a pen to draw. Better to take them to Kay 'n' Dave's down the street, which has buckets of crayons and paper placemats, as well as a kids' menu.

The total for seven people, including three bottles of water, one bottle of Montepulciano (sp?), sodas for the kids, appetizers for five, main dishes for five plus two appetizers, two coffees and three desserts, and tax and tip: $330. I don't know if I'd go out of my way to return, there are so many other Italian restaurants on par with Amici, but I wouldn't object to returning, if someone wated to go.

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