I am going to be redundant, but Vin Bar/Valentino is one of the best, if not the best Italian restaurant in Los Angeles. Irene Virbila, LA Times’ critic got it right when she awarded Valentino 3 stars. This really is a must restaurant. The current chef, Nico Chessa from Sardinia is absolutely wonderful; he is just getting better and better and there is no better host than Piero. As I mentioned before we never BYO so Piero chooses the wines and Nico creates the menu. What more could one ask for?
Nico mentioned that he remembered how much we liked uni.
Uni, bottarga shavings, blood orange segments, blood orange dressing – light, flavorable with sushi quality uni.
Crabmeat salad, pecorino, celery with tiny bits of uni as the “glue” or holding the crabmeat salad together. On top was a crispy tomato. Poured around the salad was a red beet soup with green basil oil — Summer on a plate.
Grilled Octopus and Calamari, Chiodini Mushrooms, Fregola (Sardinian couscous), Squid Ink. The red sprinkles are actually dried and ground lobster eggs. It was essential that the lobster eggs be mixed with the entire dish. This was delicious.
Seafood Risotto with sepia, scallops, lobster, clams, parsley, parmesan and mascarpone, instead of butter, used for the creamy quality – what a lavish extravaganza of seafood in perfectly cooked risotto. I particularly loved the use of the mascarpone.
Quail en Porchetta “stuffed” with Lamb Tenderloin, Kurobuta Pork Tenderloin on a bed of lentils with zucchini and carrots, Haricot verts wrapped in carrots, Heirloom cherry tomatoes, Potatoes steamed in saffron – what an extraordinary meat dish – every bit of incredible meat goodness in each bite with market fresh vegetables.
Malloreddus (little gnocchi) with Venison Ragu – nobody does pasta better than Valentino not to mention perfect saucing.
Explanation from this site:
Malloreddus is a pasta made from semolina flour and water. Each piece will be about 1 inch (2.5 cm) long and 1/4 inch (.5cm) wide. The front of each piece is open like a canoe; the back of each piece has very pronounced grooves on it to catch sauce. Though the grooves used to be made by pressing the pieces of pasta against straw baskets, now of course there are machines that do that. For home production, Sardinians used a piece of specially-designed glass with grooves in it, called a “ciurili.” Malloreddus pasta is made in Sardinia, Italy.
Truffle Cheese from Tuscany on Fig Bread topped by Fig “Salami” with fruit mustard, dried apricots, walnuts – a lovely cheese course
Davide Giova – pastry chef
We were getting quite full and I just didn’t do justice to Chef Giova’s desserts.
Chocolate Budino, Prickly pear Sorbet, Strawberries marinated with Balsamic
Milk Chocolate Mille-feuille, Sicilian cassata – sponge cake with ricotta topped with candied fruits and “frosted” with pistachio mascarpone
What a fantastic meal with incredible service and innovative, well-executed cuisine. As I mentioned earlier, Valentino is a must restaurant. I urge everyone to just go and enjoy.