Restaurant: Tom George
Location: 707 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90017. (424) 362-6263
Date: April 16, 2017
Cuisine: (Sort of) Italian
Rating: hits and misses both
Saturday night brings me Downtown to meet up with pal Sebastian.
He loves this difficult to park at unless you valet corner. And Tom George is a newcomer, a big attractive space that hosts a strangely named “Italian.” It’s the kind of Italian I don’t really get — where it doesn’t feel that much like an Italian restaurant.
The menu is kinda Italian. It has pasta and pizza. But kinda American too. And it’s certainly nothing like a menu you’d find in Italy.
We bought a Verdiccio or something like that off the list too, forgot to take a picture of it.
From my cellar: 2004 Tenuta le Potazzine Brunello di Montalcino Riserva. VM 93. The 2004 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva naturally offers a bit more structure and depth than the straight bottling. Powerful and intense, the Riserva also shows the wilder side of Sangiovese, with plenty of game, smoke, tobacco and licorice undertones. The 2004 has aged well, even if it is a bit rustic. Still, there is plenty to like.
Nduja sausage pizza. arugula, mozzarella, basil. This was a good pizza.
Hand chopped beef tartare. Quail egg, toast. Pretty straight up decent tartare.
We ordered some white truffle and just had it shaved to add ourselves.
They gave us lots of it, problem was it had no flavor — out of season?
Seb brought: 2007 Castello dei Rampolla d’Alceo. VM 97. Dark raspberries, cloves, menthol and crushed rocks wrap around the palate in the 2007 d’Alceo. Rich, voluptuous and sexy, the 2007 is very much a product of a vintage that yielded a crop of resonant, generous wines. The ripe, silky tannins will make the 2007 accessible relatively early, but it also has more than enough depth to age well for years. Today, the flavors are naturally still quite primary and there is still quite a bit of baby fat that has to melt off before the 2007 enters its prime drinking window. Still, there is a lot to like, including the wine’s huge, palate-staining finish. Grace meets power in the 2007. In a word: dazzling!
Spaghetti Carbonara. Guanciale, black truffle. This was a solid Carbonara. Definitely good. Not the best I’ve had in LA, nor even close to a good one in Italy, but certainly very enjoyable. Guanciale wasn’t crispy. I like it crispy.
Fettuccine duck ragu bolognese. Total fail. Looked good, but very little flavor.
Penne Vodka. Pork cheek bacon, basil. This was salty but delicious.
This wasn’t on the menu, but obviously it’s a whole fish with a ratatouille.
Seb also brought: 2014 Sine Qua Non Syrah Piranha Waterdance. VM 95-97. A striking, vibrant wine, the 2014 Syrah Piranha Waterdance is beautifully focused and energetic from start to finish. Plum, blueberry, lavender, mint, violet and sweet spices all take shape in the glass. This is an especially nuanced, sculpted Syrah long on class and personality. There is so much to like here. The 2014 is 81% Syrah, 8% Petite Sirah, 6% Mourvèdre, 4% Touriga Nacional and % Graciano, done with 26% whole clusters, all from Sine Qua Non’s estate vineyards: 35% Eleven Confessions, 34% Third Twin and 31% Cumulus.
Half jidori chicken, roasted miatake, brown butter sauce. I’m not normally a chicken fan, and this certainly isn’t very Italian, but it was good.
Butter lettuce. Cucumber, mustard vinaigrette. Never seen a salad like this in Italy.
Matcha Tiramisu. White chocolate. Nice texture, but the whole matcha and white chocolate is certainly very inferior to the traditional zabaione, coffee, chocolate, rum vibe.
Gelato. The dark is chocolate sorbet, which was good for no dairy but still a sorbet. The white was basil gelato. Nice texture, but the flavor was very very sweet and very mildly basil.
Overall the food here was a bit hit or miss. It didn’t feel terribly Italian, certainly not authentically Italian, although I heard one of the owners or managers speaking Italian. Some of the dishes were good like the pizza, the carbonara, and the chicken, but non were terribly memorable. Service was perfectly pleasant and the space lovely.