Location: 11359 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025. 310.477.7886
Date: October 27, 2012
Rating: Modern Italian to die for
After my stellar birthday meal at Il Grano, and with the closing of Drago, Il Grano has become one of my favorite westside Italians. Last Saturday, what started off as a “quick Saturday dinner” turned into another epic feast.
From my cellar, Parker 93, “The 2004 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva, from vines in Castelnuovo dell’Abate, is gorgeous, layered and elegant in its violets, tar, licorice and cherries. The finish is long and impeccable, but this is a somewhat ethereal style, with aromas and flavors that are already a touch forward relative to most 2004 Riservas. Ideally the wine is best enjoyed within the next decade.”
Sal loves a good Gazpacho (as do I). This is the garnishes.
Il Grano is also famous for its sushi-like crudos. Right to left: toro with melon caviar. Albacore. Red snapper with blood orange caviar. Hokkaido scallop with olive dust. The white stuff on the plate is frozen olive oil and each fish has its own little sauce.
Fire roasted peppers and anchovies. Red torpedo onion, san marzano tomatoes. Yum. This is really a Spanish dish, but it’s one of my favorites.
Soft polenta with lamb ragu. This is Northern Italian and a classic rich meat and starch pairing, sort of an Italian take on a super-spud filled with chili. Much better though with a lovely velvety texture.
A lamb special. Sliced lamb tenderloin, perfectly done (or not, as the case is), soft potatoes and reduction. On the right is a crostini coupled with a lamb heart and onion mix that tasted like awesome chicken liver.
If you like higher end Italian cooking (and who doesn’t?) you should absolutely rush over here. Make sure you get a tasting menu. I don’t think appetizer and entree selected off the regular menu would do the place the justice it deserves. I’m sure the dishes would be great, but this cuisine is about more than just two notes. I’m not sure why Il Grano isn’t always mobbed, as folks flock to overpriced mid-quality trattorias. I guess people are just clueless.