This was my second time at the Zuc - one lunch, one dindin excursion. I had to ignore any Patina Group biases (i.e. frustrating with eat/Pinot/etc.) and be open. Good move on my part.
Place: Zucca, Friday, 2/10 - 7:30 PM
Myself + 1 guest (First date with an Internet Boy)
Ratings in brief:
Ambiance - A-
I love the space - maybe a bit overdone, but the transport to Italy is not lost or under appreciated on me - it's nice to see some pizzazz.
Service - A-
Great server - attentive without being pushy. And when we ordered a bottle of wine, he asked which one of us would like to do the tasting - refreshing to have a male server that understands I might be the wino! :)
Food (Taste) - A-
Since I can honestly say one of the dishes was, possibly, the best I've ever had - well, that's a glowing endorsement.
Food (Presentation) - B
Nothing outstanding here - everything looked fine and dandy.
Wine/Drinks - A
An absolutely fantastic selection of Grappa - heaven!
Value - B
A weeeeee bit pricey for the experience, but I'm really not complaining - Zucca is a solid Italian spot for sure.
Overall Experience - A-
Pleasantly surprised - that's the topic du juor.
Zucca, so I'm told, is Italian for pumpkin.
As a self-confessed Pumpkin Addict, please understand that I am immediately biased. Many of the items on the menu feature this most beloved ingredient year-round, and I have to embrace that.
I dig the layout - a jazzy looking bar is strategically placed just right of the entrance, and separate from the dining room. It's not a very large restaurant, but very grand - Italian motifs on the walls (gigantic), lots of gold accents and mirros - very elegant. Of course, the tables are too close together, but this is LA. Why ruin a trend?
Great, solid, friendly service. God, it's so nice to type those words.
Chewy, lucious bread with realllly good olive oil/spicy/salty dip-extravaganza.
Started with an *awesome* dirty martini (gin, of course), followed by a so-so Pinot Grigio (the house) and ohmagod GRAPPA - a couple of dozen choices, including one of my favorites - Terrebiento d'or (I know I am butchering the name, but that's close, anyway) - le perfect digestivo. Happy, happy girl. Drunk, too.
We split the Frutti Misto - julienne vegetables, the freshest, melty-yummy shrimp, and calamari with the perfect level of snap and tenderness. Breading was a bit greasy but light as a feather. They served it with a creamy ranch-style sauce, however, which is a pet peeve - too much fat on top of fat; I would have preferred a lighter dipping choice, but still, all love for this dish.
I had the BEST pizza - I have literally had dreams about it. The word about Zucca was that they import water and use a very traditional, neopolitan style for their crust, and I had high hopes this would transport me back to Italy.
Mission accomplished - it was *spectacular*.
My pizza had fontina, veggies, olive oil and PUMPKIN -good god, can I just tell you, I wanted to share a bite with every last patron; it was the kind of taste sensation you wanted everyone to appreciate.
My date had a mozzerella, tomato sauces, and fried eggplant pizza - also really divine, but very greasy. I preferred my non-melted cheese fest pie by far, but man do they nail the thin crust goodness here. Must try every last pizza at least 10 times.
In my previous visit, I also had a creamy risotto with scallops and (of course) pumpkin - it was too cheesy, as the taste of my beloved squash was quite lost. And only two small scallops. Just not as sensational by any means.
No dessert - except, of course, Grappa :)
Total for 2 martinis, a bottle of wine, 2 glasses of grappa, 1 appetizer, and 2 pizzas (before tip) was $150. Most of that, of course, was alcohol.
Pumpkin pizza. I am a believer, people. Testify.
801 South Figueroa
Cross street - 8th
Los Angeles - 90017