Location: 8638 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048. (310) 274-1893
Date: November 3, 2022
Rating: fun night w/ retro 90s Italian
I’m not historically a big fan of Locanda Veneta. It’s okay, and the owner is super nice, and execution on the food quite good, but the meal is always the same (maybe that’s Yarom’s ordering) and it’s very 90’s. I like a more modern style of Italian, frankly. This feels similar to Toscana or other good but slightly dated places. And we always end up eating steak — which just doesn’t feel that Italian — although actually it is in Tuscany — but I hate that kind of steak.
Our big outside table — which is great in nice weather.
From my cellar: 2011 Taittinger Champagne Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut. 94 points.
2006 Taittinger Champagne Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut. VM 98. We started with the 2006 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne, which is every bit as racy and seductive as it has always been. It’s a great, great vintage for Comtes. (Drink between 2022-2046)
2008 Drappier Champagne Grande Sendrée Submarine Edition. 96 points.
Ron bonus: 2018 Domaine William Fèvre Chablis Grand Cru Bougros Côte Bouguerots. VM 94. The 2018 Chablis Bougros Côte de Bouguerots Grand Cru is well-defined on the nose. Quite stony and terse at first, it opens with orange rind and crushed pebble scents. The palate is well balanced with fine acidity, tight and energetic with a zesty, minerally finish. This meliorates in the glass, ending up quite nuanced and tensile. Tasted blind at the Burgfest 2018 white tasting. (Drink between 2024-2040)
Bread with a “pesto” of parsley, olive oil, lemon juice etc.
Insalata San Remo. Mixed Greens served with Avocados, Tomatoes, Hearts of Palm, Zucchini, and Pine-Nuts tossed in our House Vinaigrette. Not a bad salad but certainly not great with wine either.
From my cellar, and WOTN (haha but true): 2011 Domaine des Comtes Lafon Meursault 1er Cru Les Perrières. BH 95. As was the case from a bottle in 750 ml tasted in 2019 (see herein), a still strikingly fresh, elegant, airy and cool nose features aromas of wisps of acacia blossom, lemon rind, mineral reduction, green apple and a lingering hint of wood influence. The sleek, pure and stony medium weight flavors exude palpable underlying tension before culminating in a vibrant, driving, intense and impeccably well-balanced finish that goes on and on. This is textbook Perrières that for my taste is still on the way up, and particularly so in magnum format, and I would suggest allowing it another 5 to 8 years of cellar time. With that said, it wouldn’t be a crime to open one now – just be sure to allow for some air time. Impressive. (Drink starting 2028)
“Beluga” Sturgeon Caviar (1lb.) Sturgeon Roe (Imported Real Fine Black Caviar) served with Fresh Made Blini, Chopped Egg Yolks, Spanish Red Onion and Crème Fraiche.
Fresh Made Blini, Chopped Egg Yolks, Spanish Red Onion and Crème Fraiche.
A slight odd course, but delicious (and salty). Always a little amusing when there are 2 white courses (salad and caviar) and a whole lotta giant red.
2001 Penfolds Grange. VM 94. Inky violet with a bright rim. Explosive and utterly captivating on the nose, offering a range of aromas that encompasses red and darker berries, flowers, cigar box, minerals and sexy oak spices. Quite broad on the palate, and packing a real punch to its flavors of cassis, boysenberry, candied plum, bitter chocolate and fruitcake. Serious, harmonious tannins give plenty of structural support. This expands and grows even sweeter with aeration, finishing with outstanding persistence. Oak spices add sex appeal. A superb Grange.
1999 Penfolds Grange. VM 91+. Full ruby-red. Sexy aromas of raspberry, cola, root beer and coconut. Thick, dense and concentrated, with exotic, slightly candied dark fruit, caramel, toasted coconut and mineral flavors nicely shaped by firm acids. Shows strong fruit and a major dose of oak on the powerful, backward finish. This can’t quite match the 1998 for sheer depth of fruit, but it’s built to age.
1993 Penfolds Grange. 93 points. Slightly chemical nose, then herbs, anis. With time better and purerx On the palate much better, high toned red fruit, lots of ripe dark fruit, minerality, herbs, minty notes, again anis and spices. Very complex and layered. Highly precise. No faulty notes. Round but still very powerful but so round and sexy.
1990 Penfolds Grange. 94 points. Excellent 33-year old Grange – mid-neck level and perfect cork. The nose was fantastic and very complex with aromas of cedar, exotic wood, incense, dark cherries, leather and another “je-ne-sais-quoi”. The palate was excellent, but not as impressive. Balanced and very long. Still has the tannic structure and the stuffing to last 5-10 years, but will it improve? I don’t think so. Enjoy now.
Risotto al Tartufo Nero or Blanco. Carnaroli” Rice simmered with a Shaved “Alba’s” Fresh Black Winter or White Truffles. Very tasty and rich.
Antelope Carpaccio with arugula and truffles. The less carby variant.
2000 Chris Ringland Shiraz Dry Grown Barossa Ranges.
2003 Chris Ringland Shiraz Dry Grown Barossa Ranges.
1989 Henschke Shiraz Hill of Grace.
1991 Henschke Shiraz Hill of Grace.
“Tomahawk” di Manzo. USDA Prime Beef “Tomahawk” charbroiled to perfection, rubbed with Kosher Sea Salt, Black Pepper and our Secret Fresh Spices. We had several of these steaks at various levels of doneness (rare to well done). LOTS of beef. It was quite salted but the ones on the more rare side were delicious.
Roasted Rosemary Garlic New Potatoes. Great potatoes but I only had one because of carb avoidance.
Sautéed Baby Asparagus. Solid.
Sautéed Baby Carrots.
Branzino with “no fry” Eggplant Parmigiana. This was an unusual branzino, not quite as light as the classic greak/italian prep, but very tasty. The eggplant was fabulous and tomato sauce forward.
1986 Penfolds Grange. 95 points.
1982 Penfolds Grange. JG 95. The 1982 Penfolds Grange Hermitage has always been an impressive bottle, and since its debut in the second half of the 1980s, this has been a head-turner of a vintage for this great wine. Despite its fairly early appeal (where there was more than enough beautiful fruit that one had no trouble drinking it with great pleasure and just ignoring its fair chassis of tannin), this was always a wine meant to age gracefully and it has done so in no uncertain terms. Today, the bouquet is deep and complex, offering up a moderately jammy blend of cassis, black raspberries, coffee, meaty tones, menthol, dried berries, a touch of leather, new oak and a good base of soil. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and complex, with fine focus and grip, a plush core of fruit and impressive length and grip on the meltingly tannic and well-balanced finish. This is a classic vintage of Grange and has decades of life still ahead of it, but is fully into its apogee. (Drink between 2017-2050)
1981 Penfolds Grange. 93 points.
“New York” Steak di Manzo. USDA Prime Beef “Tomahawk” charbroiled to perfection, rubbed with Kosher Sea Salt, Black Pepper and our Secret Fresh Spices. There were a lot of these steaks too — just tons of meat.
Almond Amaretto Fudge Gelato — Amaretto Zabaglione (egg yolk, amaretto, and sugar custard) Sicilian Almond gelato base with a swirl of house-made Valrhona Cream Cheese Fudge Icing — made by me for @sweetmilkgelato — #SweetMilkGelato #gelato #dessert #icecream #FrozenDessert #nomnom #dessertlovers #dessertporn #icecreamlovers #gelatoitaliano #foodporn #gelatolover #food #foodgasm #foodblogger #dessertgasm #desserttime #foodphotography #gelatoartigianale #gelatomania #dessertlover #icecream #icecreamlovers #Valrhona #almond #amaretto #icing #chocolate
Apple Tart with Vanilla Ice Cream and Caramel. Delicious.
Panna Cotta. Italian vanilla custard served on a strawberry coulis. Lovely and soft.
Overall this was a fun evening. I’ll bring apart commentary into different areas.
Service: The restaurant did a great job managing a group of our size. They were on top of things for the most part and extremely nice and accommodating. Whoever helped pick the menu for white wines did a good job pairing out all those red tomato sauce dishes.
Food: The food was good. Some dishes were excellent like pastas. Some were just nice. It all feels a little 90s Italian-American (which it is), but isn’t fully contemporary or fully Italian. But it’s good. Plating is very 90s.
Wine: Grange is always good, but I always feel weird not drinking Italian at Italian restaurants. These wines are monsters, BTW, even at 30-40 years of age. No point in cracking them at <25 years.
Anyway though, a very fun evening.