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.”
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.
A terrific white wine from their list
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!
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
Sunrise Tomato Gazpacho with olive oil, dried black olives and the purple carrot puree tart – both Gazpachos were absolutely terrific
Luna Oyster served in a dish designed by Mori ( the famed sushi chef of the famed Mori restaurant)
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 Tartare with Shaved White Truffle
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.
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
BYO Red Wine
Bigoli al Nero- Squid ink Pasta, Santa Barbara sea urchin sauce – I love uni and this is a justifiable signature dish
Maccheroncini Polipo – artisanal maccheroncini, octopus bolognese, bone marrow – spicy in a good way
An absolutely horrible photo – Black Cod, Autumn Caponata, Butternut Squash, Celery Root, Lobster reduction – delicious
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.