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Piccolo

Italian
4 Dudley Ave.
Venice, CA 90291 | Map
(310) 314-3222
Website

I returned to our table after walking the entire width and length of this modest size dining room. One of our dinner companions noticed the grin on my face and asked what was up.

“I’m the oldest person in this building,” I answered. “And that includes the staff.”

“And that’s funny,” he asked.

It was funny to me. I think I had 20 years on anyone other than my dinner mates. The only way to become the oldest person in any restaurant that isn’t Chucky Cheese is to live long enough. That was my victory. And my reward was an absolutely spot on dinner in one of the older and more charming neighborhoods of Los Angeles.

We were there on a Wednesday night in February and the place was full. Every table. I hate to imagine what it will be like trying to get into this place in the spring or summer. But I’ll probably try.

With Jennifer and I that night were Gail Block and Elias Davis, who are co-hosts on this web site. You can click on over to their biographies and see some of the restaurants they recommend.

This night the array of different dishes we ordered was enough to convince me of the quality of the entire menu. Try a “hamburger patty” made of veal sweetbreads and sautéed crispy, topped with a quail egg and black truffle. Or pan seared scallops over a parmesan-truffle fondue. How about seared yellowtail with a thyme-Sicilian oil, bufala mozzarella and an Italian version of ponzu. Or a very good onion soup. Four for four – batting 1.000 so far.

My tagliatelle al capriolo – pasta with a slow braised venison ragu in red wine and herbs, was superb. Jennifer and Gail loved their slow braised lamb and Elias was more than just happy with his monk fish special.

My dessert was so fabulous I’m going to try to duplicate it at home – mandolin thin slices of fresh pineapple marinated in champagne and ginger. Everyone else went for one of the chocolate dishes.

When a restaurant gets it right so many times in one night, there’s every reason to believe they would continue to get it right no matter what you order.

Add to all this some excellent wine, a room quiet enough to allow dinner conversation and the warm and helpful staff and you’ve got a dining experience worth repeating. And I will. There are so many things on the menu I want to give them a chance to get right.

 

 

Related: Italian | Los Angeles West Side | Larry Levine

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