Cecconi’s – 11/2/10
8764 Melrose Ave
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Cecconi’s opened in LA early last year and quickly became a trendy spot where celebrity sightings were common. The restaurant has clearly remained very popular – even on a Monday night, the restaurant was packed. And who can blame them? The restaurant is beautiful and features a large outdoor patio, where I thought the best seats in the house were on a warm night.
However, let’s not forget about the food – the restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner (and brunch on the weekends), something that’s becoming a bit of a rarity for a nicer restaurant. Most of the food reviews I’ve read have been very positive, though not stellar.
I was invited to Cecconi’s to try a menu showcasing their daily specials. Each day of the week, the restaurant is featuring a special dish, and I had the unique opportunity of trying them in one meal.
Black Truffle Pizzette
A truffle aroma filled the air as this appetizer came out, and we immediately knew what it was. Shaved black truffles topped this crisp, thin-crusted pizzette. The best pizzettes are very simply made – here we only had a few components, and each of them excelled. The crust was light and crispy, with just the right amount of cheese. The truffles, of course, made it all the more interesting and delicious.
This was a freshly-made focaccia served warm. It had a light, crispy exterior with a warm, fluffy interior.
A tuna tartare was whipped up tableside as the next appetizer. This was a pretty typical tuna tartare, and I enjoyed the arugula for its crisp pepperiness.
Everyone was excited as large stone crab claws came out next. The shells were mostly broken for ease of eating, though some pieces were challenging as it was pretty dark outside on the patio. The work was well worth it though, yielding sweet succulent crab meat. I’m always a fan of fresh crab, straight out of the shell!
Lasagna, Cannelloni, Maine Lobster Ravioli, Chicken Tortellini
We were next served a quartet of pasta dishes. I had expectations for all of these since, well, I love pasta. The lasagna (top left) was very good, rich and meaty. The cannelloni (top right) was delicious as well, with a hint of citrus and topped with black truffles. The Maine lobster ravioli (bottom left) was another success, with its al dente pasta and sweet lobster filling.
The last pasta, served separately, was chicken tortellini served in a chicken broth (bottom right). The pasta had a good al dente texture, and this kind of resembled an Italian chicken noodle soup, if you will. The light broth had a clean and deep chicken flavor. Nice.
Wood Roast Sonoma Valley Lamb & Wood Roast Porchetta
A duo of meats was served next. The roasted leg was tender and flavorful, and I really enjoyed the accompanying artichokes. I’m relatively new to porchetta, but I really enjoy crispy pork skin and roasted pork meat. This was a prime example of both of those – especially the skin, which was so crispy. Kind of like candy.
The last entree was this beautiful filleted Dover sole. A butter-caper sauce topped the firm white fish. I thought the richness of the butter, and the slight saltiness of the capers heightened the flavors of the fish, which is characteristically mild in flavor.
Selection of Desserts
Here we had a baked ricotta cheesecake, raspberry panna cotta, chocolate fondant cake, chocolate mousse, mango sorbet and a fruit tart. My favorites were the chocolates – the fondant was warm and moist with a deep chocolate flavor, and I enjoyed the light mousse paired with a little whipped cream.
Apple Crisp, Almond Ice Cream
Lastly, we were served yet another dessert. This was probably my favorite as I love warm crisps/cakes served with cold ice cream. The apples were sweet, and the crumble on top added the textural element. Stealing the show for me was this really delicious almond ice cream. I really liked it, and it paired very well here.
Cecconi’s lived up to my expectations serving up comfortable Italian classics, done well. I didn’t come across anything that really stretched the food imagination, but I don’t think that’s the point. Sometimes you want something familiar…something that you know you like…and Cecconi’s satisfies that need.
Note: This was a sponsored dinner.
Wow, looks like quite the indulgent meal! Cecconi’s is local to me so I’ll have to check it out soon. Glad to hear that the pastas hold their own — there are so many good places for pasta in LA!
Ah lucky you live in that area – so many good places! Let me know what you think if/when you try it!