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Restaurants & Bars 1

Bric Montrose - a serious restaurant near La Canada

Griller141 | Dec 20, 2002 09:51 PM

Wandered into this place last Saturday night and was shocked that this area (west La Canada/ Montrose - see link below for a previous post with directions) had a "real" restaurant. La Cabinita has degenerated compared to the past (lukewarm food, deteriorating quality) and La Cucina and Pasta Precioso are only ok. Taylor's is ok but not as good as the original. Dish is great for breakfast, but more something you would expect in Chino Wayne's wastelands.

Bric is run by a chef/owner who used to work for Mauro Vincente at both Mauro's in Glendale and Rex Il Ristorante on downtown LA. White tablecloths and an elegant room with subdued lighting. Most unusual in these parts.
The menu is extensive and seems authentically Geonese/Ligurian - sparse and honest, with little fish and few tomatoes; lots of nuts and interesting pastas. True pesto based dishes (e.g., potatoes and string beans) competent gnocchi and thin crusted pizzas. Reasonably good mozzarella in the misto and excellent olive oil with the food and as a side.

Pastas are unfailingly al dente (though see service notes, below) with various super rich ragus or light herbal dressings (though no pesto with pasta).

The meats are the star of the show and are not over cooked or oversauced. The veal chop (with fontina and a light marsala sauce)is better than at most steakhouses and the steak (de rigeur in this era of steakhouse as haute cuisine) is as good as, say, Pacific Dining Car. The poultry dishes are a little limp.

The owner is also the wine steward and knows his wines. He accurately described his offerings and taught me a thing or two about several Italian wines I thought I knew well. Wines are about twice retail -a relative bargain - and are intelligently selected. 4 or 5 good Barolos, several Barberas and Montepulcianos and excellent Chiantis.
Prices are refreshing - the most expensive entree in about $25 and five of us got out of there, with glasses of wine plus a $60 bottle of one of the most expensive Barolos, for less than $200 (the price for two at many places).
Alas, a warning: you are on your own when it comes to service. The head and dominant server, probably the owner's wife, is extremely pleasant and accomodating, but cannot even begin to service the whole place. The other servers are obviously watching her for cues, and the resultant service is spotty and frustrating. People waiting for tables, to order, to be served, and to pay, with increasing frustration.
This place is a viable alternative to the westside for those who live in the La Canada-Montrose - Glendale area, but is probably not worth a special trip from elsewhere, at least yet. And don't go on a weekend night.

Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

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