Drago Centro (Los Angeles, CA)
525 S Flower St
Los Angeles, CA 90071
Dining date: 10/20/11
Given that I work in walking distance of Drago Centro, I visit semi-regularly. Most often it’s for happy hour, but occasionally I’ll drop in for lunch too. Drago Centro was one of the DineLA participants that extended their special for an extra week; given that I had a new coworker that wanted to try lunch here, it was an opportune time to drop by.
I’ve almost always had excellent food at Drago Centro (the pastas are some of my favorite in the city); as good as the food’s been, the service often has been equally as lackluster. Since this was a workday lunch, I was just hoping for a relatively smooth meal.
Bread service consisted of bread rolls and a delicious olive oil. With bread, I think I actually prefer olive oil over butter.
crispy salt cod croquettes lemon aioli, radish arugula
I liked the salt cod, fluffy and sort of creamy on the inside and delicately crispy on the outside. The lemon aioli provided a nice acidic counter to the richness of the croquette. The dish was a bit heavy-handed with the salt though.
bocconcini mozzarella salad spinach, olives tomatoes
My coworkers opted for this mozzarella salad and enjoyed it.
sausage and rapini pizza mozzarella cheese
My coworkers also went for this pizza, generously sized. The meat and vegetable flavors were well-balanced and worked well in tandem. Not particularly a memorable pizza as a whole, but a good one.
swordfish spaghetti spicy tomato sauce, pinenuts, capers, raisins
I went for this spaghetti. Expectantly, the pasta was cooked perfectly with chunks of swordfish scattered throughout. I thought the fish was a little bit more fishy than I had expected. The tomato sauce wasn’t too spicy at all (which I liked), and some capers and raisins added a little bit of a salty/sweet dimension to the bites.
chocolate and olive oil terrine red currants, almonds
This was an interesting dessert – layers of a different chocolates made up the layers of the dessert. I enjoyed the chocolate, though I couldn’t really tell how the olive oil came into play. Was it one of the layers? I didn’t taste it. Still, a tasty dessert.
toasted bread pudding caramel, salted cream
This bread pudding was pretty well-executed. The caramel and salted cream combined to add a “salted caramel” flavor, while adding extra richness to the dessert.
Not the best meal I’ve had here, but Drago Centro’s food was pretty good, as usual. Service was attentive and plates came out of the kitchen at a good pace – a definite plus. I also liked that the DineLA menu didn’t seem to skimp on portion size – this was a ton of food in three courses. Given its proximity to the office, I will surely be back but I think it’s a worthwhile visit for anyone looking for a good Italian meal in LA.
I love Drago Centro’s food, but I’m with you — what is up with the service? Most of the time, I’m given the cold shoulder and made to feel that I don’t “belong” there, and other times the server is so intrusive and makes weird comments on our private conversations. I was paranoid that it was just me, but now that I see you’ve experienced spotty service, I don’t feel as crazy.
It’s not just you! Goodness, I don’t know what’s up…but it’s kind of tragic because the food can be so good.