At the risk of preaching to the converted, this is why Chowhound.com is a hounds best friend: It leads to dining delights.
First the Grubs followed the hounds scents (or is it sense?) to a terrific meal including the soaring chorizo & clams & lobster roll at the Hungry Cat, recently reported below.
Then, last nite, solely due to recent postings, we checked out Fioretto Trattoria in a lonely strip mall at Braddock & Culver in Culver City. Ding, ding, ding, ding. We have a winner!!!
4 dishes. Fava bean/pecorino/walnut salad. Great. Nice firm beans, generous serving of pungent pecorino. Next, carpaccio w shaved artichoke & another hard cheese (not certain which). If you are a bit carpacciod out, this is a very pleasing take. The raw baby artichoke slices combine beautifully w the meat for an entirely different taste sensation. Then, burrata. Nicely done creamy burrata on arugula & prosciutto, eye-pleasingly presented. Not quite up to La Bucas exquisite burrata, but excellent nonetheless.
Finally, the timballa. This is a dish that dreams are built of. Smoked chicken, raisins (of all things), & pignoli finely ground & stuffed into rigatoni, stood in a ramekin, covered w mozzarella (methinks) & baked/broiled, then turned onto a plate & surrounded by an incredible tomato & red bell pepper reduction sauce. WOW.
Had a wonderful bottle of brunello (a bargain at $60) & the house provided a gratis piece of torta w pinenuts (sweet & soothing) & a touch of grappa. Bill (including wine, not tax) came in at exactly $100. Excellent, Garth! Excellent!
Place reminds one of Giovannis (on Venice in Culver City) small (tables for perhaps 30-35 inside, café tables for 2 outside). Pretty unconstructed inside, but attractive in a post-industrial way. Menu items & limited (& accessible) wine list are carefully selected.
Seem to be 3 people on the staff. The chef truly a wonder, a kitchen hand, & one very friendly & helpful server. W their startup creaks, not the most efficient operation, but it is, after all, a neighborhood trattoria, not a pretentious shrine of self-importance like Valentino. The Gruberinos give this jewel a rousing 2 thumbs up.