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enoteca drago (longish review)


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enoteca drago (longish review)

SH | May 10, 2004 07:57 PM

Had dinner there for the first time friday night. We had a 9:00 reservation, for which i was 15 minutes late because of the parking situation. For those of you who haven't been down canon drive in bh recently, it's completely torn up by construction between wilshire and santa monica boulevards – only two lanes open, with huge, gaping open trenches on either side, boards over dirt where the sidewalks used to be – all of which means no valet parking and no access to the parking lots /structures on canon. After driving around in a circle, i finally parked in a lot a block and a half away, and then found my way – carefully – back to the restaurant.

My friend was already there, waiting at the bar. The hostess said our table would be ready in a few minutes. 30 minutes later, i went to check on it and was told that the people had paid their bill a while ago but were still lingering. I was a little annoyed, but what could i say? Sometimes i am those people. In the meantime, the hostess had told a couple who wanted to eat at the bar that we would be getting seated soon, so they were hovering behind us, waiting to take over our barstools. That could have been rather awkward, but they were apologetic and funny about it.

Finally got seated around 9:50. so now, on to the food. But first a side note about myself and my dining companion. She's a pesco-vegetarian. I, on the other hand, love read meat, and i never met a vegetable i didn't like (ok, maybe i could do without lima beans); however, i have an extreme dislike for fish. But, we also like to share dishes when eat together, so we end up ordering a lot of vegetarian items.

For appetizers, we had the crabcake off the enoteca menu and an artichoke special. The crabcake was good, but it won't make me abandon my love affair with the ones at the ivy. The artichoke was your basic steamed variety, with a nice garlicky aioli. Artichokes are one of my absolute favorite foods, so i was happy.

Our main courses were two pastas, the penne with tomatoes, eggplant and buffalo mozzarella, and the spaghetti cacio peppe. They were both outstanding. We kept marveling at how something so simple – spaghetti, cracked pepper, pecorino cheese and olive oil – can be so good when it's perfectly prepared with top quality ingredients. The penne had roasted cherry tomatoes that were bursting with sweet tomatoey flavor, roasted eggplant puree, and just the right amount of mozzarella, garnished with thin strips of deep-fried eggplant. The pasta portions were generous – we both took home enough leftovers for lunch the next day.

For dessert we had the apple tartlet. The crust on the tart was tough – i had to ask for a knife after i nearly sent the tartlet flying off the table while trying to cut it with my fork – but it was still good, and the hazelnut ice cream that it came with was delicious.

The prices seem somewhat inconsistent – our appetizers ($11 and $12, i believe) were only slightly less than the pastas ($13). Bill for all of the above plus two glasses of wine and two coffees was $74 plus tip. Very reasonable for the quality of the food, and i definitely want to go back – maybe next time with another carnivore so i can try the porterhouse for 2!

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