Villetta – Santa Monica

We had made the decision from our first time at Villetta to just let Chef Pippa Calland devise a menu for us. We did just that and I can highly recommend that this is a perfect way to experience Villetta. Chef Calland prides herself on ingredient quality and seasonality. Letting her create your menu will insure that you get the “best of the best” from her stash of “goodies.” (As an aside, many many years ago when Michel Richard had Citrus, he used to have a special box of his ingredients that he was only allowed to use. We used to let him cook for us and what we got was from his box. Pippa and Villetta reminds us of Michel’s box)

BYO Champagne – a great way to start with a 35 year old champagne

Gabrielle, our wonderful server – She and Pippa have opened restaurants together in New York before they both came to Los Angeles. Besides great restaurant experience, she also has a degree from Columbia in Film Studies and English.

Amuse of white bean dip and parmesan chips

Pizza with Squash Blossom, La Credenza Cheese, Pignoli, Chives and Jalapeno – great beginning. John continues to plan for his take-out pizza from Villetta.

White Wine from their list

Copper River Salmon Crudo, Julienne of Cucumber, Chervil, Hot and Sweet Chili Sauce (One of the other servers, not Gabrielle, mentioned that it was Sriracha). A refreshing crudo that was somewhat reminiscent of a tartar.

Roasted Marrow Bones with an Oxtail/Onion Marmalade topped with edible flowers, mixed greens served with Ciabatta – the last time that I had similar marrow bones was at St John’s in London – classic preparation executed perfectly.

Close-up of the Marrow Bones

Jidori Chicken Livers, Frisee, Lardons of Pancetta (made in house), Dressing from Pancetta Reduction and Preserved Truffles from Piedmont and a Poached Farm Egg

The rich orange  yolk is opened to seep on top of the frisee – this was one of my favorite dishes of the night – absolutely delicious

Santa Barbara spot prawns a la plancha with garlic, lemon zest, crushed red pepper, Gigante beans – Pippa asked if we minded having this again – not in the least and as good as last time.

Red Wine from their list

Agnolotti stuffed with veal and pork, butter and sage sauce – another winner

Dry aged bone-in strip steak “tagliata” with wild arugula, radishes, shaved parmesan – hopefully this photo and the two below tell the story of how good this was.

Close-up of steak bone

Close-up of the steak

Cadillac Ice Margarita – lime, Tequila, Grand Marnier – sort of a palate awakener.

Mascarpone Cheesecake, Creme Anglais, Graham Cracker Crust (the graham crackers are made in house)

San Vicente in Brentwood has become an Italian restaurant row scene. Villetta, the newest, is by far the best. This is a food and wine focused restaurant with a “real” chef running the kitchen and a dedicated and knowledgeable front of the house staff.

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