Vin Bar

What an incredible restaurant – the best Italian restaurant in Los Angeles. There is a reason that Valentino will be celebrating 40 years in the restaurant business this year – nobody does it better. As I have stated numerous times we never look at a menu or a wine list – we just let Piero and Chef Nico orchestrate everything from beginning to the end.

“The vineyards of Batasiolo lie nestled in rural northern Italy in the heart of Piedmont, famed home of Barolo wines. The original nine vineyards encircle the winery like an amphitheater: the complete estate comprises nearly 250 acres, making it one of the leading farms in Piedmont. Batasiolo, with its estate and rigorous focus on single-vineyard Barolos, strives to reflect the age old truth: wine is made with skillful, loving care in the winery, but it is created in the vineyard.”

Tuna quenelle, langoustine bisque, paddlefish caviar, Jamon iberico de bellota (the finest ham from Spain) – what a perfect combination. What impresses me most about Chef Nico’s cuisine is that there are no shortcuts – this is labor intensive cuisine done with great skill.

Chestnut flan with 4 cheese sauce- Gorgonzola, Parmesan, Mozzarella and Pecorino with shaved black truffle on top – this was superb!

Piero stated this is one of his favorite wines – no oak with good acidity. “This blend of 70% Grillo and 30% Inzolia is grown at a 19th century estate in Sicilia. The winemaker, Gaetana Jacono, is a 6th generation winemaker. The estate also grows a huge amount of blood oranges in addtion to grape vines. Jacono is famous for revitalizing viticultural efforts by substantive replanting of native Sicilian varietals. Most of them are organically grown in the Milaro soil.”

Roasted quail, polenta, porcini mushrooms on top, porcini mushroom sauce and port sauce – another absolute winner

Tortino of zucchini, squash, farro sitting on tomato sauce with fava beans, braised red onions and fried pancetta strips – how many ways can I say delcious?

Second White Wine

Chef Fabio made and presented this dish. Traditional Paella – sausage, veal, mussels, clams, calamari, scallops, peas and saffron rice baked in the oven – Who needs to go to Spain when you have Chef Fabio?

Piero described this wine as Cherry nectar.

“Today, the wine estate is run by Gaetana Jacono, representing the sixth generation. With the same love that tied her ancestors to the vines, along with marked entrepreneurial insight, Gaetana has devoted herself to the production of Sicilian DOC and IGT wines – a production that has earned great recognition, even on the international scene.”

“The estate covers over 100 hectares and a large part of it, from 2001 to today, has been replanted with the area’s top varieties and with international varieties. Here, the soil – locally known as “Milaro” – is characterized by a particular substrate of calcareous sandstone, inter¬leaved with packets of clay that allow the vines to produce high quality grapes.”

“Thanks to the nature of the place, the use of technologically advanced systems and the support of a century of experience, Valle dell’Acate is able to produce a range of prized, modern and radiant wines: the celebrated Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOC.”

Mezzuluna (half-moon shape) filled with osso bucco, butter and sage saucing, cherry tomato, parsley – what a lovely pasta course made with a deft hand.

Pork belly with a parmesan crisp filled with celery, carrots and fennel – the pork belly was succulent, rich and moist with crispy skin – just delicious.

Cheese Course – Pecorino, Gorgonzola, candied walnuts, fig salami, mixed berry and tomato compote, truffle honey

What a sensational meal! The one thing about Vin Bar/Valentino is that it is consistently superlative from one visit to the next – there is never a misstep.

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