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Restaurants & Bars 4

La Terza - Brief Review

DonnyMac | Sep 20, 200412:58 PM

Tried La Terza last night (the new italian place on 3rd St. run by the owner/chef of Angelini Osteria, with some involvement by Campanile alumni - Nancy Silverton is doing the desserts at the moment too).

The bottom line - excellent food, but I think I prefer Angelini. Read on.

We split a 375ml carafe of the 2001 Shafer Merlot (a wonderful rendition for anyone who hates Merlot, which is normally me). We had the farro salad and mixed bean salad to begin, followed by entree sized orders of the radicchio ravioli and the papparadella with veal cheeks, arugula and cherry tomatoes. We split the ricotta fritters with sour cherry sauce for dessert. The net net was $132 plus valet charge.

As at Angelini, the dishes are "rustic" as in direct, not overproduced, and reflecting strong flavors/textures from their primary ingredients. The farro salad was a stand out for balance and shimmering glints of flavor from each element. The bean salad was good, but not as outstanding. The papparadella was delicious, with the peppery arugula and the tart/sweet cherry tomatoes keeping the intense braised cheeks from making the dish ponderous. Still, the entree size ends up being very, very rich. Cosider sticking to the appetizer size. This same advice is even more important with the radicchio ravioli. It was by far the best, most interesting ravioli I have had in my life, owing primarily to the stunning purity of the grilled radicchio flavor inside and the perfect pasta texture surrounding it, and by the wise choice to coat it merely with some butter and salt. Because of the big flavor, however, a little goes a long way. The fritters were good - basically fresh doughnut balls with excellent sour cherry sauce and mascarpone gelato.

We did not sample anything from the wood fired oven (the ribeye, at $40, seemed steep).

While we enjoyed the food, overall, I think I prefer Angelini, because the small, more casual atmosphere there better suits the satisfyingly direct flavors of this kind of Italian cooking (by far the best in LA IMHO). Granted, it was Emmy night, so the La Terza was emptier than usual, but even full, it is just a different feel. Also, and this is minor, I prefer the more Italian focused wine program at Angelini and the option of a 500 ml carafe.

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