Earlier this year, a restaurant in Hollywood that I had not dined at, celebrated its one year anniversary. I was amazed to discover, I had already eaten there before…sort of…well let me explain…
Upscale-casual intersected by comfortable California chic and very charmingly Italian, Aventine Bar PatioTrattoria has been rather quietly existing on Cahuenga just above Selma in the backyard of Hollywood grit. Set amongst more than a few ructious sportsbars, un-branded local coffee shops, hole-in-the-wall clothing stores and uber-goth hair salons, it is quite the hidden jewel.
In fact, had I not had the necessity a week earlier to walk into the restaurant to ask a quick unrelated parking question, I might have continued to pass it by.
Enjoying a LIVE DJ, sparkle lit, bar enhanced back room dining area, lined with small banquettes and furnished with a large high-top group table, I barely came up for air in between evolving menu samples and Napa Valley wine pairings of Pinot Noir with distinct black cherry notes and bold, rich Cabernet. But then a familiar voice sounded my name and I lifted my head in excitement.
“Maurizio! — Oh my gosh! I’ve been looking for you! What are you doing here?’
“Well here I am bella! I can’t believe it’s you! So good to see you!”
…it was my long lost acquaintance, the former Sicilian owner one of my favorite, but now closed, restaurants on Melrose, shouting above the din,
“We’re all here!…the staff…the kitchen…everyone!”
The authentic Italian flavors, cooking style, and overall ambience created by owners/brothers Gian-Paolo Veronese and Chef Adolfo Veronese with Los Angeles restaurant aficionados Sylvain Bitton and JT Torregiani, plus a familiar local assemblage have divined exquisite simplicity into a glamorazzi destination. And there could not be a more perfect Italian meal to eat in Hollywood.
There is nothing to downplay on this menu. The fare is delectably light — not typical of garden-variety Italian served throughout the city.
Unusual items stood out in the special celebration menu such as the pureed Celery Soup with white truffle oil, Foglia d’Endive stuffed with tuna tartare, mouthwatering Burrata with baby arugula pesto, reduced cherry balsamic, black lava salt, evoo and grilled crostini.
The pizza, always, my most criticized feature of any menu, was cooked to perfection and topped with sweet tomatoes.
Sides of shrimp wrapped in bacon; meatballs over creamy, unusually light polenta with mozzarella and raisins disappeared within seconds of being served at the table. Final courses included tender beef skewers, white pizzas with prosciutto and arugula, ravioli filled with ricotta cheese and pancetta and pumpkin amoretto cookies.
The party was jam packed and everyone was as happy as Pharrell Williams hit song played in the background. The entire atmosphere was contagious.
On the regular menu you will want to sample interesting dishes such as the Popcorn Al Tartufo - truffle popcorn with parmesan and Italian parsley; Agnolotti stuffed roasted chicken breast and goat cheese. Topped with sweet yellow corn, baby heirloom tomatoes and a white wine butter sauce; Scottadito Costoletta Di Maiale - Seared pancetta wrapped double Duroc Pork chop, grilled polenta, baby carrots, porcini thyme white wine sauce; and the Caramel Budino - chocolate-pecan crumble, salted Caramel, soft whipped cream, Maldon salt, for dessert.
The absolutely stunning feature of this menu is the price points. Not a single item is unreasonable. You will be able to heartily enjoy a festive evening filled with delicious variety without going broke.
But see for yourself. (Click here for the menu – there are 3) Reservations are recommended. This restaurant is always filled.