Location: 5 Dudley Ave, Venice, Ca. 310-314-3222
Date: February 26, 2011
Rating: Neighborhood Italian, hybridizing toward modern.
Piccolo is a neighborhood Italian located in a rather sketchy area of the venice boardwalk. For a previous review, look HERE. I few years ago it was a very Italian place with a veronese regional menu. It’s still very Northern Italian, but under a new chef has been growing more bold and modern. Mostly this consists of deconstructing classic dishes.
Parker gives this an 89, “The 2003 Brunello di Montalcino is a pretty, supple wine with sweet red fruit and an accessible personality. The heat of the vintage is felt in the sweet notes of fruit and oak that linger on the finish. Ideally the oak could be a little more integrated and the tannins might be more finessed, but this is a nicely poised effort from Altesino. Anticipated maturity: 2008-2015.”
“caprese rivisitata, heirloom tomatoes, burrata, revisited. basil, ligurian olive oil.” Notice we have more or less the traditional ingredients of the Caprese, but they have been deconstructed and reassembled in a new form, as a sort of gelled parfait.
“Tortelli di prosciutto cotto. ravioli filled with truffle-prosciutto cotto, Italian mascarpone sauce, micro celery.” Piccolo has very fine, very fresh egg pastas. This one is stuffed with a bit of ham, and served on a very buttery cheese sauce. The pasta was nicely al dente.
“Large ricotta gnocchi in a butter sauce sauce with a mascarpone foam.” Also a rearrangement of traditional elements.
“agnello al rabarbaro. boneless, natural lamb shank slow-braised in rhubarb-port, tuscan melon-foe gras risotto cake.” At some level an osso bucco with risotto, but with lamb. And slightly deconstructed, the meat is off the bone and piled in these little cylinders. The meat and its sauce was very tasty. The risotto though felt dry and crunchy, and didn’t have that creamy texture I love in good risotto.
The dessert menu.
“Bignole. Pastry puffs filled with Belgian Gianduja chocolate cream.” Close to profiteroles. The inside was mildly hazelnuty, the sauce a classic creme anglais.
“Semifreddo. Imported Amaretto cookies soft-frozen cream.” This was really good. The semifreddo itself a gelato-like ball of Amaretto, with some nice texture too. I love Amaretto, and this tasted very strongly of them, with that nice cold texture. The stripe of sauce is carmel, which made for a lovely convo.