Location: 1124 San Julian St, Los Angeles, CA 90015. (213) 749-1099
Date: November 1, 2017
Cuisine: Italian (Emilia Romagna)
Rating: Very tasty modern rustic style
Los Angeles Italian restaurants are getting more explicitly regional. Rossoblu is helmed by Chef Steve Samson (who opened at Sotto) whose family is from Bologna in Emilia Romagna — a city and region of epic food tradition (check out my own visit to the area here). This visit was organized by Liz Lee of Sage Society.
The location is in DTLA in one of those ugly market districts on the southeastern side of the city. The building looks new and certainly newly renovated with a slightly oddball but large front patio. The neighborhood is kinda sketchy.
Inside is modern and attractive with a slightly offset bar area.
And a spacious main dining room with very high ceilings.
The kitchen is open and the hood huge — with one of those wood burning roasting ovens.
We each brought geeky central Italian wines. First the whites.
Liz brought: 2000 i Clivi Galea. 93 points. Very cold weather and herbal.
From my cellar: 2010 Paolo Bea Arboreus. 93 points. Very interesting orange wine. This is a wine that continues to exceed my already-high expectations for it. In this setting it held its own against two hearty pasta dishes—not the fare you would typically associate with Trebbiano, but then again this isn’t your typical Trebbiano. Bea’s decision a few years ago to add a touch more sulfur when bottling has increased the wine’s stability and reduced its oxidative quality somewhat, without losing any of the characteristics that make this wine what it is. Always a delight.
Kirk brought: 2010 Le Macchiole Paleo Bianco Toscana IGT. VM 88. Light, bright yellow. Honeydew and pineapple aromas, along with floral and grapefruit nuances. Juicy, spicy and high-pitched, offering brisk flavors of citrus zest, winter melon and fresh herbs. Finishes slightly dry, with refreshing bite and good spicy persistence.
Grilled buckley bay oysters. Brown butter, sage, parmigiano reggiano, lemon breadcrumbs. Certainly I’ve never seen these in Italy but these “almost like Oyster Rockefeller” oysters were quite good.
Grilled Santa Barbara spot prawns. Breadcrumbs, parsley, Romagnola Olive Oil. These were great prawns — although again you wouldn’t see this exact dish in Italy — and the row in particular was awesome.
Swiss chard ebazzone tartlet. Stracchino, Chicory Salad. A lot like a Greek Spanakopita. Behind it is a kind of Emilia Romagna cheese (stracchino) in olive oil.
Strozzapreti. Clams, shrimp, lobster mushrooms, tomato. Essentially a Gauzetto sauce. Very nice al dente bite on the thick pasta. Really lovely for a seafood pasta actually, although somehow felt a little more Southern Italian.
Valbruna’s Eggplant. Tomato sugo, parmigiano reggiano, basil. Bright pizza flavors. Nice fresh eggplant dish.
Whole grilled orata. lemon arugula. Nice fresh fish but with a strong grilled flavor — undoubtedly down on the wood fire grill.
Liz brought: 1985 Castell’in Villa Chianti Classico Riserva. AG 93. The 1985 Chianti Classico Riserva is a gorgeous wine. It has plenty of depth and richness to match its fabulous overall balance. The warmth of the vintage is very nicely balanced here. The bouquet is starting to show early signs of development, which suggests the 1985 won’t be one of the longer-lived vintages at Castell’in Villa, but it should continue to drink well for another 5-7 years, perhaps longer.
From my cellar: 1966 Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico Riserva. 89 points. A little sharp but still in amazing shape given that it’s a 51 year old Chianti!
From my cellar: 1999 Paolo Bea Sagrantino di Montefalco Secco. AG 95. The wine was absolutely majestic. Tons of fruit!
Pappardelle. Sausage ragu, broccoli, ricotta. Very nice sausage and broccoli pasta. Very al dente with a lot of rich flavor.
Maltagliati. Procini & pioppini mushrooms. Dandelion greens, sage. Particularly tasty for a vegetarian pasta. The mushrooms were almost meaty. Again extremely al dente.
Very Emilia Romagna style puffy breads.
For the Salumi board. Sotto cenere / testa, whipped dry aged beef tallow. Mortadella DOP, prosciutto di parma (30 months), served with stracchino cheese.
Nonna’s Tagliatelle al ragu Bolognese. Beef, pork, not too much tomato sauce. Very traditional Bolognese with LOTS of meat. Good stuff.
Risotto. Yellow corn, chanterelle mushrooms. Lovely almost sweet / cheesy risotto. Nice bite to the rice.
Milk braised pork shoulder. caramelized cabbage. Really nice soft flavorful pork.
Coal roasted vegetables. Carrots, beats, etc. Sea salt. Olive oil. Was getting pretty full for veggies.
Tiramisu Tradizionale. Cognescenti espresso, blackstrap rum, mascarpone. As good a tiramisu as you get in a restaurant, although not as good as my own.
Fall Date Blondie. Nutmeg cream, maple walnuts, coppa di gelato. More like a spice cake with whipped cream.
Overall, Rossoblu (named after the colors of the Bologna soccer team), adds another great entry into the new LA Italian dining scene. It’s focused on Emilia Romagna, but more like the rustic home cooking of an older Emilia Romagna as filtered through LA sensibility. My own experiences in the region show considerably less rustication. But in any case Rossoblu is very tasty. The pastas in particular were fabulous — and I’m always a pasta fiend. Too bad, like Officine, Bestia, and Factory Kitchen, it’s located ALL THE WAY Downtown — 1:45 of traffic.