I think my single favorite item of food is round pizza from Spumoni Garden in Brooklyn. (I reviewed it a few months ago; you can check my archives for it.) When I eat it, I put my hair back in a ponytail, put on sunglasses, close my eyes, and everyone at my table (and others, as well, if I had my way!) has to be silent. That’s how good it is.
Well, I found my second dish that deserves that kind-of respect; the Ravioli Burro (spinach and ricotta to us non-Italian speakers) at La Terza, located in the Orlando Hotel in West Hollywood. It truly is THE best pasta I’ve ever had in my whole life…and I’ve been to Italy! Twice!
My only regret is that I shared it with my friend, Lou. Next time, I’ll definitely get my own. Or better yet, I’ll go alone; that way, I can guarantee that no one at my table will talk while I’m reveling in the exquisiteness of the taste.
At my recent dinner there, I could have just stopped with that dish, but on we went, just to know what to tell you guys. We actually began with some specials that the management sends to all the tables, which is a lovely touch. That way, every patron feels special themselves.
On our night, they were two that I don’t eat, but Lou and Laurel, did. The first was warm tuna salad that they agreed was cooked perfectly in a light dressing. Then they had chopped artichokes with pine nuts in olive oil, which Laurel deemed juicy and delicious. They gave it a nine out of ten. Even though I never review with numbers, I let them have their fun.
We all loved the thick grilled bread, and Lou and I ate every morsel of a dish called Battilarda, which was different salamis with chunks of parmesan. When we got to the entrees, Lou sucked every drop out of his duck with spinach and figs, and said it was spot on.
The description of my swordfish said that it was grilled and breaded, but don’t let that latter part scare you; it was so light that I still don’t understand with what it was coated. It was juicy and perfect and came with great sautéed string beans. My only disappointment was that most Secondi don’t come with potatoes. We ordered a side of roasted ones, and they made the meals perfect.
I rarely see branzino on a menu, and since Mr. X is my fish expert, I had to bring one home to him. Happily, he said it was fabulous. (I’m sure he said “great,” but “fabulous” is my word.)
My friend Laurel can’t have any salt in her diet, even though she’s the skinniest thing. (Maybe that’s why!) We found the staff to be incredibly accommodating to her special dietary needs.
She wound-up with the mixed baby green salad and was thrilled with the yellow tomatoes. There were slices of beautiful fresh parmesan cheese on it, but they were easy to remove and Lou ate them. (Mr. X’s reaction to that last line indicated to me that I better let you know that they’re a couple and not just picking off the plates of strangers.)
The rotisserie chicken had been recommended to us, but the chef was kind enough to make Laurel just a plain grilled chicken breast and she said it was tender and succulent.
You might know by now that I just eat the rest of the meal to get to dessert. They were really good here, but the ravioli was still the winner this night. We each had a different favorite, which is such fun when it happens that way.
Lou’s was the unusual pinenut torte, which he deemed “food of the angels,” and was served with vanilla ice cream. Laurel went for the ricotta fritters that came with three sauces in little dishes. She thought it was fun and would be a good choice for kids. I loved the chocolate cake, that Laurel thought should be re-named “Chocolate Lover’s Dream.”
Avid OTL readers know how much I love great service, and will think something’s up that I haven’t mentioned it here. It’s just that on the evening we chose, Gino Angelini, one of the proprietors, (who also owns Angelini Osteria with his partner, Betty McLaury), was there, and we chatted him up so much that he waited on us himself.
So, I have no first hand knowledge of how the actual service is, but judging by how warm Duygu, the hostess was, I would guess it would be as good as the rest of the experience. And towards the end of our meal, we got to meet the chef, Gino Rindone. I just wish we had picked his brain for the ravioli recipe!
And though this is technically a hotel restaurant, it has an interesting feel. It’s totally casual, yet serves upscale food. Traveling singles can sit at a table alone and feel wholly comfortable. The tables are close enough together to converse with your neighbors, as we did, yet not on top of each other, ensuring private intimate conversations, if that’s what you’re seeking.
And, if you’ve overdone the dining experience, there’s a fitness center on premises. I have a feeling that I should have headed right in that direction! Or perchance have gotten a room for the night, and had the ravioli again for breakfast!
La Terza 8384 W. Third Street 323-782-8384
And lastly, Happy Birthday to the funniest, most talented, most thoughtful person in the world. And no, it’s not MY birthday.