Sunday, June 28, 2009

Madeo - The Stars Were Out Last Night!

What a night...from the impeccable food to the A-list celeb sightings, it made for an incredible evening. Madeo is by far one of our favorite Italian restaurants in LA and it looks like Beyonce, Jay-Z, Gwyneth Paltrow, Chris Martin, Matt Damon and Jeremy Piven are fans as well (they all seemed to arrive following the BET awards). As for the restaurant, it has an authentic Italian feel with a huge wooden bar, cozy booths and B&W photos of old Italy. A lot of people compare this restaurant to Georgio Baldi. Let me set the record straight. Both have fantastic food, are run by old Italian chefs and employee mainly Italian born staff. That said, it is the service and atmosphere that differentiates Madeo and is the main reason we keep coming back.

Back to the evening...though hard not to stare at the beautiful faces around us, we still were able to enjoy the food in front of us...and the wine of course! Immediately after being seated they bring out a plate of crispy flat bread drizzled with olive oil. Make sure to ask for the green olives served with chunks of parmigiano cheese (always a nice touch but an added cost). If you've been there before, you know not to fill up on them (though it may be hard) as you have a big meal ahead.

The Filet Mignon Carpaccio appetizer is delicious and certainly one of the better carpaccio's in LA. It is sliced very thin, served with artichokes, Parmigiano cheese and lemon juice - a very light & refreshing dish. Choosing a pasta as an appetizer is also a great choice, especially if you're having a fish or meat as an entree. In fact, we believe it is the pastas, that makes this restaurant so good. They always seem to have a special or two (often fresh seafood, sea urchin, zucchini flowers, duck ragu, etc.) but are often not pastas you can find anywhere else. We highly recommend the Spaghetti Alla Bottarga with Sea Bass dried eggs (see attached pic) and garlic. While you may be thinking who would actually eat that, it is fantastic. Another great pasta is the Penne Madeo with fresh tomato-basil and Parmigiano cheese - very basic but very good. The sauce seems to stick to the pasta in a way that makes it difficult to explain, but if you are a fan of basic tomato based pastas, this might be the best one you have ever tried. We also tried the sea bass ravioli with a tomato sauce. It took us by surprise, icredibly light and delicate....found ourselves craving for more. Lastly, we want to point out the veal ravioli with walnut sauce. This is a heavy cream based sauce, but seems to work perfectly with ground veal & walnuts.

For entrees, we do enjoy the Tagliata alle Erbe Aromatiche. This is a thinly sliced broiled New York sirloin steak, layed out on the plate served with aromatic herbs and drillzled with olive oil. They also had a grilled rabbit special which we weren't a fan of as it was a bit dry.

You'll probably be full by this point but save a little room for dessert, specifically for the Mille-Feuille - layers of puff pastry filled with fresh cream. Yum!

We cant go without mentioning the wine service. We are big winos and truly appreciate when a restaurant goes to great lengths to deliver wine service. We brought two reds to dinner (Larkmead '02 - solid, decent value & an '05 Robert Foley Claret, big & bold) and had them both decanted immediately. The restaurant uses beautiful Riedel glasses (for all varietals) and with an attentive sommelier, the wine & service perfectly complement the meal.

Note: The meal comes at a price. Most appetizers fall in the $15-$20 range, pastas around $25-$30 and entrees $30-$50.

8897 Beverly Blvd.
Beverly Hills 90048

Rating: 95

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Piedmontese Steaks on Father's Day

For Father's Day we special ordered Piedmontese steaks which aren't easy to come by. Lucky for us we were able to get 3 of these beautiful Porterhouse steaks (see attached pic). Though expensive, absolutely worth it. What makes Piedmontese beef unique is that it is actually quite lean yet is incredibly tender. This breed comes from Northern Italy in the Piedmonte region. There is a small number of these cattles living in the US. Check out

This was one of the better steaks we've had...seasoned with salt, pepper, olive oil, soy sauce and hot pepper flakes. We grilled on high heat, charred on outside and rare on the inside.

Osteria Mozza

We went to Osteria Mozza Saturday night and if anyone's been to Babbo in NY, this goes head to head. This is a fun, NYC type scene and while there have been a ton of reviews of the place, Mario Batali & Nancy Silverton have hit a home run with this one. Since there is usually always a wait, we like to grab one of the unique drinks at the bar such as the Il Postino cocktail made with prosecco, lime and honey.

Once seated, our eyes immediately go to the extensive mozzarella cheese menu which is a great way to start the meal. We absolutely love the burrata served with grilled bread (it's a special twice a week so make sure to ask if they have it...luckily they had it on the menu on Saturday). Moving on to additional apps, the grilled Octopus with potatoes, celery & lemon is amazing. As someone who isn't a huge fan of octopus, the seasoning and charcoal flavor from the grill makes this a unique dish. The grilled fresh figs wrapped in bacon (also a special) is another app worth a try.

After the apps we moved on to three different pastas (note there were 4 of us). Our favorites were the Orecchiette with sausage & swiss chard (this is a classic, ear shaped pasta from the Puglia region of Italy...a must!). Instead of parmesan cheese they sprinkle bread crumbs (see attached pic)...yum! The Fresh Ricotta & Egg Ravioli with browned butter is another worthwhile dish (see attached pic). The egg yolk is cooked inside the ravioli so that it oozes out when cut open (this one is really unique and worth the calories!).

For the main course go with the Grilled Beef Tagliata with a balsamic glaze (see attached pic). We had the duck as well but it was a little dry so we wouldn't recommend it.

To top the meal off, the sommelier brought out 4 different digestives (also known as Amaro). Amaro is an Italian after dinner drink similar to a Grappa (see attached pic). Batali collects these from small makers in Italy and keeps them for his private collection and for special guests. We were lucky enough to get a try, though unfortunately, it's a bit harsh, not making it very easy to drink.

Rating: 97

Osteria Mozza
6602 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles 90038

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Fresh Fig's Anyone?

It's finally that season...the season for figs! Every summer we look forward to the first sight of figs at the market which we can never pass up. We've found that Bristol Farms carries a larger white fig which we feel is better than the mission black fig found in most markets.

We recommend a few ways to enjoy figs, specifically as refreshing appetizers:

Figs & Burrata (or Mozzarella) - Use 2 figs per person and slice each fig in half. Place the cheese in the center of the plate and place the figs around the cheese. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic.

Figs & Prosciutto - Use 2 figs per person and slice each fig in half. Lay a piece of prosciutto on top of each fig or you can wrap the prosciutto around each fig. Drizzle with olive oil.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Malibu Seafood

With the beautiful LA weather yesterday, we thought it would be a great idea to head down to Malibu to one of our favorite spots for fresh fish - Malibu Seafood. The drive alone is worth it. Not too far past Pepperdine along PCH lies what we like to call the "fish shack" directly across from the beach. Though there is usually a line out the door, you barely notice the wait given the great view (and hopefully great weather). On the menu you will find fresh seafood including grilled fish, fish tacos, fish & chips, live lobsters, fried clam strips (greasy but a must!) & fried oysters...amongst others. There is great outdoor seating with benches (again may have to wait but never too long). This fairly priced "shack"
is the perfect lunch and/or dinner spot for the summer. You can bring a bottle of wine (free of charge), sit outside, and take in the food and landscape. We even saw some dolphins yesterday from where we sat!

Rating: 91

Malibu Seafood
25653 Pacific Coast Hwy
(310) 456-343025653

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Who's The Real Top Chef?

The Top Chef Tour is rolling across the country and happened to be in Culver City today. Top Chef winner Hosea and runner up Chef Stefan were there to do a cooking demonstration for their fans as well as answer questions. Stefan stole the show with his outrageous personality and sense of humor while Hosea was surprisingly a bit more shy. If I didn't know better, I would have thought Stefan was Top Chef.

In the cooking demonstration, led by Stefan, he prepared a Nutmeg and Thyme Crusted Halibut served with very light/thin mashed potatoes (used Yukon Gold Potatoes). We received a small plate to try and I must say it was pretty delish. I definitely could have used a second serving, though could be because that was my lunch! The end of the demonstration ended with a question from someone from the crowd: What ingredient and what utensil would they bring if they were going to be stranded on a deserted island? Hosea's response: Definitely Duck! His reasoning was that it could provide eggs, meat and of course foie gras. For his utensil he chose a spoon which he feels is the most versatile (serving spoon, spatula and as a garnish...though not sure you really need to garnish anything if you're stranded on an island). Stefan got the most laughs when his two things were a Bud Light and an ice cold glass for the Bud Light. Priceless!

Tip: Stefan will be opening his new restaurant in Santa Monica August 1st. Wouldn't give out the name except for "Stefan's [blank]."

Yu-N-Mi Sushi

Everyone has their favorite go-to Sushi spot and we've finally found ours...Yu-N-Mi in Beverly Hills. Was there last night, and, as always, it was amazing. Not only do they have the most delicious rolls that literally melt in your mouth but it's fairly priced. They have an extensive menu which can make it hard to decide what to go with but some of our faves include the Special Albacore Roll with yummy crispy onions on top and soaked in ponzue sauce, Spicy Tuna #2 Roll served with cruncy wasabi chips on top and the Nicky Roll with baked lobster on top and rock shrimp tempura inside (order the sauce on the side). You really can't go wrong with anything there! It's a small restaurant so definitely make a reservation if you can (they start excepting them at 6pm).

Rating: 94

Yu-N-Mi Sushi
9475 Santa Monica Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA
(310) 273-7437

Saturday, June 6, 2009


For our inaugural review, we figured we'd come out with a blockbuster. Hatfield's is without a doubt one of the best restaurants in LA. The food goes head to head with some of those restaurants with multi course tasting menus but without the attitude and stuffiness.

In the recent economic times, the restaurant is offering a special menu. For $49 you choose off the entire menu one app, one entree and one dessert (previous menu would have bought you an app and entree for that price). The meal starts with an amuse bouche of deviled quail eggs and a warm shot of apple fennel soup. For the apps we highly recommend the homemade corn agnolotti made with dungeness crab, cherry tomatoes, hon shimeji mushrooms and fava beans in a sherry butter fondue. It's rich but out of this world. The other must is the "Croque Madame." This is not your average Croque Madame and wouldn't consider it anything of the sort. It's made with a crispy brioche filled with hamachi sashimi, prosciutto and a fried quail egg on top. If anybody's been to AOC they have a similar dish but this crushes it.

For the main course, you must go with the double plate of the pan roasted hanger steak and the braised short ribs. The hanger is served with onion confit and the short ribs are slow cooked and dusted with horseradish and served over a smoked potato puree. All is topped off with a light brown glaze (see pic above). This dish makes you want to saver each bite. We also had the duck, which is also very good, but does not compare to this dish.

Though you may be full at this point, save room for dessert. If you are a fan of lemon, go with the baked lemon custard tartlet with huckleberry compote, shortbread sable and cream cheese ice cream. If you are looking for something refreshing try the cherry soup. It's served cold with fresh market cherries and an ice cream cookie sandwich. Delish!

While corkage is $25, they have a really affordable wine list. You won't find it difficult to find a solid wine under $40.

Lastly, if you're going on a date we recommend the outside corner table in the front.

Rating: 96 points

7458 Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles 90036