The Eats...

it's not often that I am super disappointed in service, but today, I really was. We love De Pasquale in Beverly Hills and this is their off shoot in Woodlnd Hills. I was very excited to go here for brunch, despite some friends telling me that they has less than stellar food here. I always  prefer to check things out for myself before judging. We had a 12pm reservation and I was quite surprised to see the restaurant pretty empty. We were, of course seated immediately and introduced to the owner. His parents own De Pasquale and I told him how much we like it. Our drinks and coffee came pretty quickly but we had to ask for cream three times before it came. Do you ever get the feeling that no one listens? We were told about the special frittata with ham and cheese and it sounded wonderful, so one of us ordered it. Two ordered the Eggs Benedict. We also ordered the avocado toast. The avocado toast was delicious served as a bruschetta on grilled crostini, with smashed avocado, tomatoes, and buratta. This was by far the best dish. Right after that, things began going south, and I don't mean south of the boulevard. I mean downhill south! Our order came with two frittatas and one Eggs Benedict. We sent back the wrong frittata and started to eat. The frittata that came out next, was made without the ham. It took forever to flag down our server. She took it back and meanwhile brought out the errant Eggs Benedict. So we waited twenty more minutes, and when everyone else was done eating, the fritatta appeared. And when it did, it was awful. I could have made a much better one myself! Sauté the ham and give it some crunch and color. This was not even cooked. Our server finally came back 20 more minutes later and we told her how bad it was. She did take that off our bill but by this time there were so many mishaps, that I just cannot recommend HOM. The service is so bad. I'm sad. H.O.M. Italian Eatery 21136 Ventura Blvd. Woodland Hills

Every once in a while, a great new resturant makes a statement and becomes an instant hit. Basta is the new kid in town and has taken Agoura by storm! We had an amazing meal tonight prepared by chef Severio, and I highly recommend checking Basta out! Come early or be prepared to wait. If you have to wait, have a drink at the gorgeous bar and know that the wait will be worth it!

The wine and and specialty cocktail lists are impressive to say the least. We had a lovely Pinot Grigio and Malbec to start. Make sure to check out all of the great wines by the bottle or the glass!

We started with the Basta Meatballs, made of pork, beef, and parmigiano. The meatballs are baked with ricotta and smoked provola and topped with the most wonderful Pomarola sauce. We also loved the gamberi, jumbo shrimp with gorganzola stuffed cipolotti (onions), wrapped in pancetta. The Little Gem salad was served so beautifully with mozzarella Milanese, avocado, almonds, fried anchovy, and vinaigrette. The Jidori Chicken was bursting with flavor and the potatoes tender and well-seasoned. We also tried the Trevigiana Pizza with house-made sausage, radicchio, mushrooms, poarola, and smoked fior di latte. The pizza was outstanding and the crust chewy and delicious. For dessert we had the butter cake and I can honestly say; it's the best I've ever had. For an amazing dining experience, try Basta; you'll be glad you did!

Basta 28863 Agoura Road, Agoura (818) 865-2019 Open for lunch Tuesday-Friday from 11:30 am-2:00 pm. Dinner on Tuesday-Thursday and Sunday from 5:00-9:00pm. Dinner on Friday and Saturdayfrom 5:00pm-10:00 pm. Closed on Monday.

 

We had dinner tonight at The Nice Guy and yes, it was it nice! I love the ambience, even though there are no photos allowed! I could put up with that because, being a celebrity haunt, The Nice Guy is geared toward privacy. Although the doorman didn't ask us, we heard and saw him ask others if they had a reservation, because apparently, you can't enter unless you have one. Once you part the drapes at the entrance, it's dark inside, very dark. Being some one who is still afraid of the dark, I thought I would hate this. But I didn't, I loved it! The darkness lends a very "clubby" atmosphere and the live music is fantastic and mellow. The bar area is beautiful as is the small intimate restaurant. Service was outstanding and the food and drinks great! We started with the JoJo, served in an old-fashioned champagne glass. I'm a sucker for those glasses, but the drink was pretty yummy too. Shake some Absolut, st. Germaine, lemon juice, strawberries and proseco, and you get a JoJo. It's the perfect cocktail, not too sweet! We also had margaritas that were deemed delicious and refreshing. For starters we had Molanari's meatballs with spicy tomato sauce and burrata. We also had clamari with grilled lemon and marinara. Both appetizers were fantastic! For dinner we had skirt steak and chicken Parmesan. Both dishes were huge portions and served beautifully. For dessert we had the chocolate budino with marshmallow topping. It was a perfect evening with great friends until a overly served diner tried to snap a photo of the live musician. He was escorted back to his table. They really do enforce the no photos rule! The Nice Guy 401 N. LaCienega Blvd. West Hollywood (310) 360-9500 Open every day at 6pm

I'm not sure what all the hype is about Nerano. We had dinner here and I'm really not impressed at all. For almost $200, I can think of so many other places I'd rather spend my money. We started with a margarita and a couple of glasses of Duckhorn Chardonnay (which is absolutely fabulous!) The wine list is impressive but for me, that's where it ended. I do love the crudités served with the lively balsamic at the start of the meal as they were really fresh and colorful. The calamari and zucchini appetizer was okay but the tarragon dipping sauce was awful. We also had the eggplant Parmesan which was fair, nothing special. My husband had the linguini and clams which I found to be tasty. I had the pizza with prosciutto which was not very good at all. The crust was flavorless and the pizza itself, very boring. For dessert we had the salted caramel and vanilla gelato. I liked the salted carmel, but the vanilla had a strange citrus taste that you just don't want in a vanilla dessert. Our server kept pushing all of the truffle dishes which got obnoxious after awhile. The couple next to us fell for his spiel, and did order the vanilla gelato with truffles." I love that combo!" said no one ever. Needless to say, we are not going back.

Nerano 9960 Santa Monica Blvd. Beverly Hills

We live just around the corner from Scopa and have been meaning to try it forever. Well, finally we did and we can honestly say, we have found our neighborhood favorite! Everything from the welcome, to the service, to the food was five stars in my book! The wine by the glass selection is great with many choices to fit any taste and price point. The full bar makes one awesome margarita as well! We started with the lightly fried squash blossoms stuffed with ricotta. Heaven in every bite! Order two or you'll be craving more all night! The rice ball stuffed with peas and meat, served with a lovely tomato sauce and grilled bread was one of my favorite dishes! If you love crunchy and soft all at the same time, this will be your favorite dish too. The linguini and clams in the light garlic sauce is rich and flavorful. The star of the night was the meatball hero. Piled with meat and cheese, it was filling and delicious. For dessert we enjoyed the hot, fresh, homemade donuts with powdered sugar. Needless to say, we can't wait to go back!

Scopa Italian Roots 2905 Washington Blvd. Venice (310)821-1100 Reservations mandatory Hours: M-F 5pm-12am Sat-Sun 11am-2:30 pm and Sat-Sun 5pm-1am

 

 

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