Found myself in Glendale and tired of Bistro Verdu (maybe not quite as good as I first thought) and underwhelmed by Cabinita for the past many months, decided to try Bric Montrose (on Honolulu in North Glendale - Montrose)after two years of abstinence. My problem in the past was the frustrating service.
There were three occupied tables (out of about 20) and only two people at the expansive bar. Nonetheless, service was ... less than speedy. The one waiter served as busboy, sommelier, and everything else, including disapearing for a time to actually drive an elderly customer home! The owner was there and ignored anyone he did not already know, and his wife seemed to be trying to prove she was an important socialite.
But what food and wine!
Spectacular porcini pasta - perfectly al dente pasta with the most flavorful fresh porcini I remember outside of Valentino's (maybe even better). Amazing texture to the generously delivered thick mushroom slices. The sauce was exemplary - full bodied, redolent of essence of procini and first rate olive oil.
Rack of lamb could have been warmer, but was perfectly pink in the middle and the sauce had a rosemary perfume that I have had only in the best Italian places (the old Donatello's in San Francisco comes to mind).
Veal chop was a first rate rib chop - not the fatty, mushy loin chop served in other high end places. Charred a point with an unbelievable light wine and veal stock reduction sauce. I'm not a bread eater, but went through half a loaf sopping it up.
Italian wines by the glass were a revelation - Soave Superiore that was more like a full white burgundy - the best of its type I can recall ($5 for the equavalent of two glasses). Bianchetta (from Genoa) was like a cross between a Chablis and a Pinot Grigio. $7 for an extremely generous pour. By the glass Nebbiolo was the equal of many great Merlots. The American by the glass wines were less successful, but the prices were right. If the owner hadn't been so preoccupied, I would have have solicited his bottle suggestions - he was the sommelier at Valentino's in a previous incarnation.
If you have a thick skin for slow (though earnest) service and a lot of time to spare, this may be one of the best Italian haute cuisine restaurants in this part of the country. And at fairly reasonable prices (pastas $~12, mains ~$22, by the glass wines $5-8). Highly recommended for a leisurely (whether you want it to be leisurely or not)weeknight dinner. I find it harder and harder to recommend Italian restaurants these days, but with all its limitations, this is one.
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