When we heard that the chef behind GUSTO (loved it) opened a new restaurant in the old AOC spot, we were first in line. Spending a week’s worth of our food budget on one meal seemed well worth it…or so we thought.
When we walked in at 7:30PM on a Saturday night, we were a tad surprised by the older crowd and 1/2 empty restaurant. We chalked it up to the fact that the prices were a little steep and it was borderline early bird special time. The space was simple: all black wood walls, tables, and chairs with white table cloths. The bar’s alcohol display spanned to the ceiling and had a sliding ladder to reach the top shelf shit- this was the most unique part. The prettiest section was slightly hidden and happened to be where they sat us: an intimate open-air upstairs patio romantically lit with twinkle lights (and next to a certain celebrity couple celebrating their anniversary we might add). The patio size would be ideal for a small private party; it was a tad cramped with multiple parties in it.
Almost immediately after sitting down the “bread guy” offered us warm bread with soft butter (any restaurant who has soft butter automatically gets a few extra stars in our book). The menu’s tribute to Italian comfort food was obvious and the modern flares were a pleasant surprise. With a hefty menu, most items looked appealing – the prices quickly helped us narrow down our choices though. The service was great at first, but as the restaurant grew crowded our table seemed to be forgotten; we cut them some slack since they were still fairly new. We had to flag others down to help us wrap it up. This makes us seem like bitches and has to be annoying for the restaurant as well – it’s just not a good look for anyone.
It wasn’t until long after we had left, that we decided we wouldn’t be going back any time soon. Stomach aches and a night spent ‘up’ (we’ll leave it at that) made it memorable for sure. We definitely would not recommend it for a date, nonetheless anniversary, unless you’re not planning on spending the night together or are VERY comfortable with that person. We wonder how said celebrity couple spent the rest of their night…
What We Ordered:
Montepulciano Red Wine [Alie] – Originally I wanted a Pinot but at $17/glass, I wasn’t trying to break the bank just yet so I stuck to the cheapest wine on the menu at $13/glass. It was pretty good and I’m definitely happy I saved my 4 bucks.
The Young Turk [Alex] – Pretty much a Moscow Mule with hibiscus infused patron silver. Sounded more unique than it tasted but I wasn’t disappointed.
Caramelized Day Boat Scallops – celery root, black truffle, and chives. We were sold at ‘black truffle.’ These were bomb.com and melted in your mouth. They were perfectly cooked and all of the flavors came through. We would definitely order them again.
Charred Delicata Squash – pomegranates, scallions, burrata, and blood orange. 2 words: Not. Good. We were trying to order something somewhat healthy but the squash was basically raw with no taste, and combined with the pomegranate seeds, it was crunchy in all the wrong ways. Visually it was the definition of food porn, unfortunately it was premature. We left more than half on the plate which says a lot considering who was eating it…and the fact that it was $17.
Lamb Neck Tagliatelle – chili, mint, and pecorino. We ideally wanted a steak, fish, or chicken, but just couldn’t afford it (for now). The pasta was delish although the mint taste didn’t really come through. A little on the rich side, but we split an order and it was the perfect amount. Only problem being how we felt post dinner. If you have a strong stomach, you should give this a try.
Crispy Truffle Fries – I mean, enough said. Maybe, dare we say maybe, some of the best in LA. If for nothing else, we would come back JUST to have this cripsy, truffly, goodness again.
Candied Orange Cannoli – sweet ricotta, candied orange, Sicilian pistachios, and chocolate chips. Because we always order dessert, we figured what’s an extra $9 at this point? It was good, but sadly nothing to write home about. Per usual, we ate it all.
There were some obvious hits and misses with this new Beverly Grove spot. If you find yourself on 3rd street and in need of a nightcap and small snack, sit at the bar and order the fries. For this, you won’t be disappointed.