Il Grano

Usually I end with a bottom line comment about my overall feeling about a restaurant. This time I am starting with my bottom line – A MUST GO restaurant!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It has been way too long that we haven’t been back to Il Grano – my last post was 2008. What a mistake on our part. Chef/Owner Salvatore Marino dazzles you with his unbelievable sourcing of the freshest of fish and given that we are at the end of tomato season the most amazing array of every imaginable tomato known to man. Ingredient sourcing is extraordinary but what sets Sal’s cuisine apart is his deft ability to let the ingredients “speak” or what Thomas Keller would refer to as “finesse.”

Grano - Sal

Sal was terrific. He came out to greet us, helped us pick our white wine and then said the magic words – just let me cook!  His enthusiasm is contagious and I was excited before my first bite.

Grano - white wine

A terrific white wine from their list

Grano - bread

Bread served with olive oil to be placed in the white part of the dish

The next two dishes we shared – we ate half although my significant other is not great about sharing!

Grano - greengazpacho

Green Zebra Tomato Gazpacho with olive oil and dried black olives. On the side a tart filled with purple carrot puree with a touch of schewan pepper

Grano - red gazpacho

Sunrise Tomato Gazpacho with olive oil, dried black olives and the purple carrot puree tart – both Gazpachos were absolutely terrific

Grano oyster

Luna Oyster served in a dish designed by Mori ( the famed sushi chef of the famed Mori restaurant)

Grano - crudo

Crudo – from left to the right – Japanese snapper, burrata cheese, Indigo tomato, basil — Wild Blue Fin Tuna, Saffron aioli, arugula —- Hokkaido Scallop, Squid Ink Sauce — this was off the charts A+ – I could go to Il Grano and have an entire crudo menu!

Yellowtail Tasting:

Grano yellowtailtartare

Yellowtail Tartare with Shaved White Truffle

Grano - yellowtail tasting

The dish as presented – grilled loin of yellowtail, grilled belly, grilled collar and the tartare – I am in fish nirvana.

As I mentioned earlier Sal is the tomato “KING” of Los Angeles. He grows them, pampers them and gets the best from each variety.

Grano - tomato tasting

Caprese with 12 different kinds of tomatoes, burrata, wild arugula – there was no way that I could get our very patient waiter Fabio to get me the name of every tomato but what a wonderful seasonal dish

Grano - red wine

BYO Red Wine

Grano - uni pasta

Bigoli al Nero- Squid ink Pasta, Santa Barbara sea urchin sauce – I love uni and this is a justifiable signature dish

Grano - octopus

Maccheroncini Polipo – artisanal maccheroncini, octopus bolognese, bone marrow – spicy in a good way

Grano - bad pic of fish

An absolutely horrible photo – Black Cod, Autumn Caponata, Butternut Squash, Celery Root, Lobster reduction – delicious

Grano - duck

Anatra – duck breast, brussel sprouts, black mission figs, smoked duck demi glace –  saucing was perfect, the meat perfectly cooked, what more can one ask for?

This was a fantastic meal. I can’t wait to go back to Il Grano. This really is a must restaurant for anyone who loves great food executed by the talented and gracious Sal.

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1 Response to “Il Grano”


  1. 1 Cynthia October 14, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    Glad to see this review. I’ve been to Il Grano a few times myself and have really enjoyed it. I had noticed you hadn’t been there in a while and had wondered if you didn’t like it anymore, so I was really pleased to see this review. Boy, I love that uni pasta that Sal makes! (like you I am a big uni fan)


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