Archive for the 'Vin Bar/Valentino' Category

Vin Bar/Valentino

I have written about Vin Bar/Valentino numerous times. I think it is the best Italian restaurant in Los Angeles. Chef Nico is so talented and there is no better restauranteur than Piero. We never look at a menu – we just let Nico cook and Piero chooses the wine.

V_ Champane

Champagne to start

V - Croquette

Croquette filled with spinach sitting in a pool of parmesan fondue – delicious

V- Lobsteer Crudo

Lobster crudo that had been marinated in anchovies on a bed of fresh orange topped with thinly sliced onion sprouts – another absolute winner

V- white wine

White wine

Now Piero and I got into a discussion about white truffles. I mentioned that so many of the truffles we have had in restaurants are poor quality and taste like cardboard. Piero asked if we wanted to see his alba white truffles.

V- Piero with trruffles

Piero and Chef Nico with the truffles – top notch quality!

V- close-uup of truffles

Close-up of the beautiful truffles – of course we asked for a course that would include truffles

V- Monkfish

Peppered Monkfish and butternut pistachio soup – an inspired combination executed to perfection

V- Red Wine

Red Wine

V- Totellini

Tortellini stuffed with veal brain that had been sautéed in butter topped with a generous amount of Alba white truffles – finally truffles that tasted like truffles

V- chicken

This is NOT Chef Nico’s plating. My husband forgot to take a picture and this was our take-out portion -we were getting full so this is what we took home. Chicken stuffed with sausage, chestnuts and porcini mushrooms sitting on a bed of risotto parmesan with shaved white Alba truffles – a nod to Thanksgiving and just stupendous.

We decided to forgo cheese and dessert.

This was a perfect meal served beautifully, executed with precision accompanied by terrific wines. What more can one ask for?

 

Vin Bar/Valentino

In all my posts about Vin Bar/Valentino I have made it clear that I consider this restaurant one of the finest in Los Angeles. This is NOT a stuffy restaurant. This is not a restaurant for those over 50. This is a contemporary restaurant that is fun dining at its best. Piero Selvaggio is one of the best restaurateurs in the country. Chef Nico Chessa is an extremely creative chef handling the best seasonal ingredients with contemporary flair. We never look at a menu. We just let Chef Nico cook and Piero pick the wines. I urge the younger set to give it a try – you will be wowed by how good this restaurant is.

We started with a glass of champagne – not pictured.

Vin - first wine

First wine

Vin - first app

On the left smoked salmon, orange, almonds, arugula. On the right Dungeness crab, watercress, melon, cucumber, baby cherry tomato – the ingredients sang and were perfect given the unbearably hot days that has plagued Los Angeles

Vin - 2nd app

Baked Ricotta cheese, spinach, white asparagus, candied walnuts, aged balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil – again a masterful combination of ingredients

Vin - 2nd wine

Second Wine

Vin - tomato soup

Cold tomato soup, fresh oregano, bottarga, burrata cheese – not your ordinary tomato soup – this just screamed great ingredients handled perfectly

Vin - rice

I am not going to do this dish justice by my description. This is a dish that was created by Chef Nico’s mother. It is a rice salad, with La Tur cheese, roasted ham flavored with truffles, peas, tomato – A+++

Vin - last wine

Third Wine

Vin - laast dish

On the left slipper lobster wrapped in speck, tomato. On the right, veal salad –  roasted slices of veal, parmesan, roasted fennel, roasted beets, butter lettuce, olive oil from Umbria – now the photo doesn’t do these two dishes justice – they were inspired, contemporary and creative that would easily win Top Chef.

Vin- cheese

Cheese – I forgot to write the name -it was a combination of cow’s milk and goat’s milk, walnuts, strawberries, barolo wine

This dinner by Chef Nico was off the charts fantastic. He has an ability to extract the best from an ingredient without losing the instrinic quality of the ingredient. His blending of flavors is stupendous and couple that with Piero’s wine pairings you can expect a meal of Michelin 3 star quality in an atmosphere that is great for both the young and old.

Vin Bar/Valentino

I have written glowing report after glowing report about Vin Bar/Valentino. The extraordinary thing about this restaurant is its consistency – you will always have superb food, incredible wines and stupendous service. This is an A+ restaurant and honestly it just doesn’t get better than this.

My camera decided to cease for the night so the first course plus the first two white wines are not pictured. Thank goodness for John’s cell phone camera.

Our wines for the evening were spectacular.

Vin - champane

We started with Schramsberg. Then we had a spectacular sauvignon blanc from south tyrol Alto Adige 2012 and afterward a Fiano di Avellno,Campania Antiche Terre 2010. Piero picks the best wines that compliments the food extraordinarily.

Vin - gotico wine

Red wines were Gotico

Vin Barbaresco

and Barbaresco.

Dinner by Chef Nico was off the charts fantastic. He has an ability to extract the best from an ingredient without losing the instrinic quality of the ingredient. His blending of flavors is stupendous and couple that with Piero’s wine pairings you can expect a meal of Michelin 3 star quality.

Vin -cheese

Fresh Burrata cheese, basil olive oil on a bed of golden and red beets topped with micro greens.

Not pictured: Swordfish carpaccio marinated in peperoncino herbs and pomegranete, sprinkled with pistachio and chili flakes

Vin - calamari

Calamari brodetto (literally translated as an Italian fish stew) stuffed with shrimp, white wine, cherry tomato, oregano, parsley

Vin - monkfish

Monkfish marinated with herbs baked on a bed of caponata, green pea sauce

Vin - ravioli

Ravioli cacio e peppe ( translated as literally meaning cheese and pepper), the ravioli was filled with  pecorino cheese and barlotta pear, butter, sage, pepper

Vin - Pici

Pici with a ragu of wild boar

Vin - rabbit

Rabbit stuffed with apples, mashed potatoes, polenta, string beans, carrots

Vin - cheese

Cheese Course ( at this point I stopped taking notes!)

Vin - sorbet

Dessert Course

What a meal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Vin Bar/Valentino

Vin Bar/Valentino is the best Italian restaurant in this city. Piero Selvaggio ranks as one of the finest restaurateurs in the country. By choice we eat at the casual Vin Bar, but whether you choose casual or the more elegant Valentino you will have an incredible meal. Chef Nico Chessa has just devised a completely new menu that is innovative and creative emphasizing the 2 regions reflecting Piero’s and Nico’s origins, Sicily and Sardinia.

The idea behind this meal was for us to taste as many of the new dishes from the brand-new menu. Superb is an understatement. All comments that Valentino is over the hill are absurd. This was as creative and innovative a menu as any Italian restaurant anywhere in the country. Let me add as we were trying so many dishes we were served “family style” so we could split the dishes at the table.

Vin - pic of Piero

Piero and Chef Nico

We never BYO at Valentino given Piero’s exceptional wine list plus his extraordinary ability to pair just the right wine with the food. We did start with some champagne not pictured.

Vin first wine

First wine

Vin - dish one

1. Cannnoli di Tonno : Savory cannoli filled with tuna mousse – almost like a tuna tartare –  the tuna was extraordinary and the cannoli a perfect “wrapping”  2. Arancine di mare: seafood rice balls – a one bite wonder 3. Cazzilli: Vegetarian croquette – what sets Chef Nico apart from other chefs is his deft hand with the freshest of ingredients.

Vin - second pic

1. Seppie con carciofi e bottarga “sgranata” – Cuttlefish with artichokes and cured mullet roe – bottarga – absolutely stunning – the freshest of fish handled perfectly with an extraordinary blend of ingredients  2. Cervella di vitello donate con cipolle all’ agrodolce – Veal brain fritters with sweet and sour onions – an absolute must order dish with the onions adding the perfect accompaniment.

Vin - third pic

Spaghetti aglio e olio i ricci di mare o alla bottarge di muggine – spaghetti with olive and garlic – the first in the photo was made with Sardinian bottarga and the second in the photo was made with Catalina Island sea urchin – both were incredible but Chef Nico knows my love of sea urchin and I literally “inhaled” each bite.  Old-fashioned food – absolutely not!

Vin - 3rd wine

Third Wine

Vin - 4th photo

1. Malloreddus con purpuzza e fiore Sardo – Morsel pasta with just made sausage ragu and pecorino cheese – Many Italian restaurants will tell you that they make their pasta in house – to be honest one of the few restaurants that I truly believe this claim to be true is Valentino.  2. Zuccotto di melanzane al Ragusano e pennette- Penne with eggplant, tomato basil and Ragusano cheese – both dishes were perfectly executed.

Vin 4th wine

Fourth Wine

Vin - meat stuff

Excuse the photo as the photographer was busy eating and was lousy on the photo. Above the dish as presented with half eaten food!

Veal by itself

Roasted veal served with

Vin tortino

Zucchini and mushroom Tortino

lamb stew by itself

Lamb stew with red wine, potatoes, olives and crown dill

chicken by itself

Grilled young chicken with lemon sauce and baby greens

All three were fantastic showing extraordinary skill and depth of flavor.

We were quite full but Piero insisted we have a cheese course – how could I say no!

Vin Cheese course

Cheese Course

Vin Baroloa

Dessert wine

Vin Dessert

To be honest my note taking was taking a dive  – as best as I can recollect – prickly pear sorbet, cannoli and panna cotta – Piero did write Bianco Mangiare Bronte.

To say that this was a fantastic meal is a huge understatement. Every single item we had is on the new menu so you don’t have to be known to have any of these items. All you have to do is go, order from the new menu and enjoy one of the finest meals you will have anywhere in this country. A must for anyone who loves great food! I am just waiting for the day when Chef Nico wins Iron Chef and Top Chef Masters.  He is that good!

Vin Bar/Valentino

I have been raving about Valentino for years, but now I absolutely recommend Valentino as a destination restaurant as Valentino is unequivocally the best Italian restaurant in Los Angeles. By choice we eat at the casual Vin Bar but you can have an elegant dinner at Valentino; whether casual or elegant you will have a wonderfully orchestrated meal with superb service and cuisine. At most restaurants we BYO, never at Valentino. Piero’s wine list is extensive and extraordinary and we just let Piero choose the wine. Chef Nico has just introduced a new menu and it is off the charts superb. We just let Chef Nico choose our tasting menu and he always “blows us away.”

Vin new menu

New Chef Nico special menu – you can order Valentino classic dishes but do try the inventive and contemporary creations of Chef Nico

Vin Mumm

Champagne to start

Vin fritter

Shrimp and Zucchini Fritter on a bed of peach sauce – a one bite wonder

Vin white wine

White wine – one of the best white wines I have had at Valentino

Vin calamari

Crustacean “Spezzatino” ( stew of crab, scallops and calamari) with seaweed calamari salad and sea urchin dressing – each element was executed perfectly with both taste and texture a delight

Vin Chardonnay - front of bottle

Vin Chardonnay

2nd white wine

Vin Veggie torta

Tortino Ragusano – A Sicilian Vegetarian Dish – Zucchini, Kale, Abalone Mushrooms with a Pomodoro sauce of red and yellow tomatoes greatly reduced – no cream. This also made me want to become a vegetarian!

“Ragusano is an Italian PDO protected cheese made exclusively in provinces of Ragusa and Siracusa, Sicily. It is one of the oldest cheeses in Sicily with evidence dating as early as 1500.  Originally known by the name of Caciocavallo, it lost its historical name after it acquired the recognition of PDO. A hard cheese from the pasta filata family, Ragusano is made with whole milk from Modicana breed of cows fed on fresh grass or hay.”

Vin stuffed calamari

Calamari stuffed with whitefish and calamari heads topped with fresh tomato and oregano in a seafood broth – this is serious food from a very talented chef – the seafood broth was wondrous and the calamari cooked perfectly

Vin Red wine

Red Wine

Vin beef tongue

Crudo of Kobe Beef Tongue Carpaccio with Maui Onions and Black Truffle Emulsion, Arugula – OH MY!!!!!! A+++

Vin black truffle

Crespelle (crepes) stuffed with wild mushrooms, shaved black truffles with a saucing of truffle fondue – this dish reflects Valentino’s concept — “It is our philosophy and inspiration to use Italian cuisine as our canvas. Our palette consists of only the freshest, most natural and delicious ingredients available.”

Vin 2nd red wine

2nd Red Wine

Vin pasta pillows

Sweetbreads Agnolottti with Pear Puree, Parmigiano Spuma, Candied Roasted Walnuts, Ricotta Cream Sauce – I sound like a broken record but another winner

Vin eelk  better

Elk with Porcini Mushrooms, Roasted Walnuts and a sauce of the porcini mushrooms and parsley – the meat was fork tender and seasoned to perfection. The mushrooms were the perfect foil for the meat.

This was a spectacular meal from beginning to end with A+ everything — wine, service, cuisine – just perfect. I urge everyone to run not walk to Valentino and make it one of their regular haunts. It is more than worth it.

Vin Bar/Valentino

Valentino/Vin Bar just gets better and better. It is our favorite Italian restaurant in Los Angeles – no one does it better in all of Los Angeles. Chef Nico devises a tasting menu for us and Piero chooses the wines. Our only responsibility is to sit back and enjoy. I am not only endorsing Valentino/Vin bar, I am urging everyone to just go.

Val - crab

Lousy picture but wonderful start – Crab Cake with Dijon Sauce

Val - first wine

First wine

Val - SB tartare

Santa Barbara spot prawn tartare with caponata, black olives, capers, pine nuts – absolutely delicious

Val - cod fish

On a crostini cod fish mousse with raddichio salad – another perfect starter dish

Val - 2nd wine

2nd wine

Val - beef meatballs

Wagyu beef meatballs with truffles, “broken” tagliatelle pasta, castrated chicken broth, parmesan. This was sensational. In looking up a castrated chicken broth I found the following – “The meat from capons (castrated roosters) is rich and flavorful and makes an exceptional broth.  In Italy, cheese rinds are often added to a simmering pot of soup for added depth of flavor.”

Val - 3rd wine

Third wine

Val - pork sausage

Cotechino – pork sausage and green lentils, barley, tomato sauce, parmesan – “The cotechino is an Italian charcuterie product, similar to salami but must be cooked; usually it is boiled at low heat for about four hours. Its name comes from cotica (rind), but it may take different names in the different production areas. According to tradition, it is served with lentils on New Year’s Eve, to bring luck for the coming year.”

Val - pasta

Busiati pasta, speck, zucchini, pear cubes, butternut squash, candied walnuts, gorgonzola cheese – Flour, eggs and oil are mixed into a dough that is called “busiato” in the Trapani area and then it is quickly rolled around the “busu” (or knitting needle) to obtain a sort of “fusillo.” – This was off the charts perfect.

Val - last wine

4th Wine

Val - lamb

Lamb Belly on a bed of sunchoke puree – we were getting quite full and didn’t do this dish justice. We will tonight!

A great meal with sensational staff – what more could one ask for?

Vin Bar

As usual we had a terrific meal at Vin Bar – it just doesn’t get better than this – service and cuisine is always A+

Schramsberg to start

Braciola of tuna, olive tapenade over roasted yellow peppers – absolutely delicious

On the left baby octopus with a spicy tomato sauce – Arrabiata style, parsley and on the right warm calamari salad, Romano beans, celery, olive oil – 2 perfect dishes

2nd Wine

Eggplant tortino, tomato sauce topped with ricotta cheese – I just can’t wax poetic enough about this cuisine and Chef Nico’s skill

Third wine

Gnocchi sardi, wild boar ragu, porcini mushrooms, light cream sauce, ricotta salata on top – pasta done to perfection

Rabbit stuffed with rabbit ragu and apple, lamb that had been marinated with herbs and grilled, arugula salad, pork sausage, roasted fennel – quite a plateful of wonderful food

4th wine

Cheese course – 24 month parmesan, buffalo brie, gorgonzola, walnuts, horn of Rome chutney, jalapeno and onion, black truffle honey

Blueberry sorbet, white peach sorbet, pear sorbet, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, diced peaches, almond sugar cookies – a light, refreshing end

All in all – a wonderful meal!


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