20 June 2014
This review is not gonna be like others, it’s more of a “what not to do as a restauranteur” commentary. I was given a recommendation by some “food” people to check out a highly-regarded place in the beachside town of Venice called Piccolo. I had no plans on this Friday evening, so I said why not.
I got to the small and cute place and was sat at a table near the open kitchen. Service was somewhat spotty, as you can see they preferred to give attention to the loud, large tables instead of a lone diner. At times it was extremely frustrating when both wine and water glass were empty for lengthy periods.
The restaurant was darker than Hades, and none of my photos came out remotely well. I’m sorry, I think using flash in a dark restaurant is really crass (and there were flashes all night at this place that blinded me…that tells you the type of clientele here), and no filtering or editing can make them look proper, so this review is sans photos…or I thought. I decided to add the photos, but apologise for their poor quality.
The first dish was lingua, tongue. It itself was pretty good, cooked well. There was an assortment of sauces to use, a little ridiculously varied. None of it was very good. The tongue itself was nice, all it needed was the pepper on the side. This was a case of overkill by a bored chef. And why bother with the colours if it was so damn dark? Oh well, I will resist and show you how weird it was…
Nah, I’ll show it. It looked like a dessert course. Sauces utterly unnecessary and bland. The only star of this dish was the de-tongued cow. Sorry for the pix, I decided to put it in to show just how awkward this dish was. Sorry for the darkness, but I am not a camera douche — especially in a restaurant as bloody dark as this.
Dear restauranteurs. Dark restaurants are not romantic, they are 1980s and backwards. I had to use my phone to be able to read the menu because it was so dark. Plus, when you got loud hipsters and old dudes in shorts and baseball caps while eating, you’re not expecting an imminent engagement.
As I was sipping my short pour of wine (very, very ungenerous, may I add), I was thinking…uh on, this restaurant’s website boasted that it was the “best” Italian resto in LA. Any website that does that means the exact opposite. I sighed…
My pasta showed up, a black spaghettini that was as dark as the room. It was swimming in a really oily green sauce, topped by chunks flavourless dungeness crab.
Sorry again for the bad pix but this was just terrible. To be honest, the pasta was cooked very well, perfect texture. Too bad it was utterly tasteless…was the colour from ink or food colouring? The sauce was hard to swallow due to its oiliness and terrible consistency, and the crab? Wasted. This was poor on planning and execution.
I was just not happy now, and was nursing my wine. My main course was maialino, or pork. You should have seen my face…
This was utterly overcooked like eating pork at a chain restaurant in the 1990s when you purposely overcooked pork as a precaution for badly-sourced meat. What’s the point of all the purple when the room is so ridiculously dark? It was just not good.
I was then told there’s no full liquor license, so no grappa. Great! A terrible dessert of thin pineapple slices and I’ve had enough. Then I saw my bill. For fuck’s sake (pardon for my language) but this is utterly overpriced for a meal that’s barely better than Olive Garden. The dishes here cost more than at some of the best places in NYC. I’m not joking.
I have eaten at some of the best Italian restaurants in and out of Italy, and this wouldn’t even qualify as the best Italian restaurant in a 10-block radius! The price was just insult to injury. Those people who think this is the best Italian food in LA obviously don’t have passports (nor tastebuds). It’s designed for the kind of crowd I hate, those who think they are “foodies” but know jack shit about food. Wow them with big words on a menu, throw some gold crap on their dessert, get it into the crap blogs like Eater, and voila, a recipe for “success” in modern day hospitality.
This is exactly what real food people would gag at, every step of the way. What a waste of my money, time, and energy. Worst meal and dining experience anywhere in LA.
Avoid, avoid, avoid.
5 Dudley Avenue