Saturday, October 12, 2013

Expertise and decibels

Venice, California, October 11, 2013—

NO PHOTO TODAY: the place was so dark I could barely read the menu. Nor could we discuss it, as ambient noise hovered consistently at 90 dB, which is on the pain threshhold. Too bad, as this is otherwise a very impressive restaurant.

I had a variation on a table d'hôte menu, with our very capable waitress bringing courses chosen by the kitchen:

Rapini with tiny lentils, migas, and cipollini in a Balsamico reduction
Nudi: gnocchi, with ricotta, chantarelles, lardo, and a corn/onion succotash
Rigatoni alla Calabrese, with octopus, marrow, rapini, chiles, and migas
Chocolate juniper cake, with soft chocolate mousse and passionflower gelato

I had ordered, simply, a glass of Frascati (rarely found on restaurant menus here!) and a glass of Nebbiolo and food that would go well with them. Everything about the meal (apart from the ambience!) was expert save one thing: the Calabrian pasta overwhelmed the very serious Nebbiolo, which would have preferred beef. There wasn't a single wine by the glass that would. Have worked: it needed a Sicilian Nero, or a Primitivo. But the wines were very nice on their own terms:

Frascati, Casale Marchese, 2010; Nebbiolo, Roero, 2007

• The Tasting Kitchen, 1633 Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Venice, California; 310.392.6644

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