Vin Bar

Vin Bar/Valentino again – this really is a perfect restaurant for us. I won’t go into as much detail re the wine as I normally do, but just let me state that I highly recommend this restaurant.

First wine

Fritto Misto of calamari, shrimp, scallops and artichokes and zucchini – not one hint of grease – just top-rate fritto misto

The fritto was served with 3 sauces – an aioli of mayonnaise and garlic, taleggio cheese and an arrabiata sauce

Pappa al Pomodoro soup topped with burrata cheese – traditional, executed perfectly – lousy photo. Pappa al pomodoro is “a bread and tomato “minestra“, that is, a thick soup, and one of the oldest and most typical dishes of the Siena area. It is definitely one of the most representative dishes of the Tuscan cucina povera, the poor people’s culinary tradition.”

Tuna Carpaccio, Blood orange, blood orange sauce dressing paired with

Blood Orange Salad, Shaved Fennel, Arugula, Blood Orange sauce, topped with Botarga – Piero mentioned that it is typical of Sicilian cuisine to pair tuna with citrus.

Second Wine

This is an old-fashioned Sicilian dish that Piero named Tortino Ragusano. Piero grew up in the province  of Ragusa, the smallest and the youngest of the Sicilian provinces that covers an area of roughly 1600 square kilometres in the south-western side of the Island. This dish consisted of zucchini slices, sliced mushrooms, Caciocavallo cheese, Ragusano cheese, Swiss Chard Sauce and Olive Oil – absolutely delicious.

Third Wine

Mezze Maniche pasta with parmesan, pecorino and black and red pepper. Mezzemaniche or mezze maniche is a cut similar to shortened rigatoni – a stout cylinder with raised edges to help hold sauce. The name of this cut of pasta comes from the Italian word maniche meaning sleeves. This was a dish with just 4 ingredients that added up to a spectacular dish.

Fourth Wine

John’s favorite pasta and what Piero calls peasant spaghetti. This is a family guarded recipe that has been an old Valentino favorite for years – ingredients include fresh tomato, proscuitto, pecorino cheese, garlic, olive oil, parsley.

For me – Egg in Truffle – Pasta ravioli was on the bottom – when you cut through the dish there was spinach, ricotta, parmesan, a coddled egg with a lovely runny yolk and shaved white truffles on top – John can be a peasant while I will go for the luxurious!

Chicken Valentino – This is another classic Valentino dish  – circa 1973. Piero said he has served this about 5 times in the last 10 years. My thought – serve it more often and classic doesn’t mean “out of date.” Piero described this as the quintessential American-Italian dish. It consisted of grilled chicken, Italian sausage, olives and bell peppers – mama never cooked so good!

Cheese Plate – I didn’t write down the names.

As far as I am concerned this is THE Italian restaurant in Los Angeles. As a side note, we happened to have a guest in town who wanted to go to Valentino the night before this meal. We went two nights in a row and didn’t have one duplication – two nights – two completely different experiences – two wonderful meals. By the way you don’t have to be a regular to get the best of Valentino – Piero does it every night for every guest. Of course, you could always mention that you might like a Refined Palate experience.

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