7313 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Dining date: 1/12/12
Angelini Osteria has been on my “want to try” list for years. I’ve gotten a taste of Gino Angelini’s rustic Italian cooking at various food festivals over the years and they’ve made a positive impression. For any number of reasons I never got a chance to visit the restaurant until now.
The menu is pretty extensive, offering a lot of options from salads to pastas, pizzas and entrees. There was even a separate “specials” page that listed another 40 items. Rather than get lost in all of the choices, we let Daniel (who has been here countless times) handle the ordering. We ended up with 4 smaller plates, 4 pastas/risotto and 3 entrees. He was also kind enough to bring along two bottles of wine to go with dinner.
Warm Tripe with Tomatoes and Cuttlefish
The tripe was very tender, braised in a sweet tomato-based sauce. The cuttlefish had a slight chew to it, adding a little texture and fish flavor to the dish. Pretty nice.
Shrimp Salad with Celery, Tomatoes, Oregano and Bottarga
Warm, tender shrimp were brightened up by fresh tomato and onion. A refreshing dish, though I found it a little overly acidic.
Warm Sliced Swordfish with Pistachios and Bottarga
Pretty good meaty swordfish was complemented by a nutty pistachio flavor, which also added some crunch. The bottarga was subtle, adding an extra fishy flavor.
Grilled Blood Sausage with Mashed Potatoes
A rich dish, the sausage was pretty good, definitely having the minerality characteristic of the type. Some creamy potato purée completed the dish. Warm, rich and comforting.
Green Pappardelle with Oxtail Ragout and Chanterelle Mushrooms
I thought this was a really nice pasta. As expected, the pasta was cooked perfectly, covered in a rich and flavorful oxtail ragu. Hard to go wrong with those two components; some chanterelles were a nice touch too. Very nice.
Bombolotti all’ Amatriciana with Guanciale, San Marzano Tomatoes and Hot Peppers
I loved the feel of the bombolotti, sort of a shorter, wider rigatoni. The guanciale (cured pork jowl) added a nice porky flavor, which went well with the sweet tomatoes and subtle heat. Pretty simple and pretty delicious.
Risotto with Mixed Seafood Ragu
This was a good risotto, packed with seafood – just what I was looking for. I thought the rice was borderline undercooked though.
Lasagna Verde “Omaggio Nonna Elvira” with Beef and Veal Ragu
This was probably the dish I was most looking forward to, and it definitely came through. Rich with a veal and beef ragu and a creamy cheesy bechamel sauce, this was simply delicious. It was rich and full of flavor, without feeling overly heavy. I liked the fried baby spinach largely for presentation purposes, though it did add just a slight crispy texture to the dish too. Very rustic and homey, this was my favorite dish of the night.
We went with three entree-sized plates.
“Harvey’s Guss” Grilled Bistecca alla Fiorentina “for Two” Finished in the Wood Oven with Spinach and Roasted Potatoes
The steak came out whole and was carved tableside. I was eagerly anticipating this steak but thought it fell disappointingly short. The steak was cooked a medium to medium-well (medium rare was requested) which largely ruined the piece of meat. It wasn’t particularly juicy nor flavorful. Crispy fried potatoes and spinach rounded out the dish – these were fine, albeit under-seasoned. Impressive presentation, less than impressive execution – considering this was $75, it was a big miss.
Whole Branzino Roasted in Sea Salt with Aromatic Herbs
This was another entree with a tableside presentation – the salt-crusted branzino was brought out and then filleted in the dining room. The fish was moist, mild in flavor, with some rather pedestrian mashed potatoes and sauteed vegetables.
Breaded Veal Chop alla Milanese with Fritto di Zucchini and Eggplant
I thought this piece of veal was moist and flavorful with a light texture from the breading. A squeeze of lemon was integral in providing a little bit of citrus and acidity to the dish, while the fried zucchini and eggplant were by far the best sides of any of the entrees we ordered.
The entrees as a whole weren’t particularly notable and the steak was an expensive disappointment, but the starters and pastas were the clear stars of this meal. For me, highlights were the tripe with cuttlefish and all of the pastas. I enjoyed the pappardelle with oxtail, but the bombolotti and lasagna verde were outstanding. I’d come back for that lasagna alone.