About a year ago, I posted my surprised dislike for this popular Brentwood cafe. Finally, after much too long of a time, I revisited it, this time for dinner, and had an exceptionally, very pleasantly surprising meal. (The first time I had a vegetarian lasagna that I didn't care for, probably b/c I like mine a very particular way....)
This meal was wonderful: the "whitefish cuocopazzo" was melt-in-your-mouth sublime. Pistachio-crusted, with a lemon-garlic-white wine sauce surrounded by chopped Roma tomatoes -- delightful and a very generous portion far too large to finish. And the antipasto of assorted crostini -- including toppings of olive, artichoke, tomato, and bell pepper -- was crunchy and all perfectly flavorful. My friend's veal with a porcini sauce was tender and succulent. The wine list, as noted before, offered a wide selection with many from Sardegna (original owners were Sardinian -- I understand last month a very long-term employee, an Italian woman who worked as a server, became the new owner). Nothing's changed, according to my dining companion, who like many of you, has enjoyed this place for years. Sevice was great from Gianni, ambiance quaint, reminiscent of a crowded Italian cafe with a warm feel, and it's very reasonably priced.
So.... glad I revisited and wish I had done so sooner! Never one to hold a grudge, I always believe in second chances. I experienced less than satisfactory first meals at many places that I now frequent often, including VIP Harbor and Lamonica's.
Explanantions for this change of opinion might include lack of consistency on the restaurant's part, my own unduly high expectations of these highly Chowhound-appraised places, or my having ordered items for which I might have a strong preference for a certain unique method of preparation (the case with Pizzicotto and the lasagna).
Anyway, glad I revisited, and will almost always try anthing twice.