Drago


It isn’t difficult to find a good restaurant in Los Angeles and through a recommendation, I headed to Drago with another old Angeleno friend. I was very glad we arrived early (before 7:00) because by 8:00 on a Saturday night, the restaurant was packed and the volume definitely made it hard to hear the person sitting across from me. There was a special prix fixe menu available but we were apprised that we could mix and match from that menu and their standard menu.

The amuse of bruschetta with an olive and bit of cheese was rather forgettable. I took one bite and let it alone; the tomatoes were very under-ripe and bitter. I started with an arugula salad which was topped with some truffled cheese. This offering was quite excellent; not too over-dressed and very fresh. My friend Robert started with a pasta; large penne with a veal ragu. For the life of me, neither of us new what the shredded stuff topping the dish was. It was chewy and tasteless and had no point on the dish which was otherwise just fine.

For entrées, I chose the Pappardelle with roasted pheasant and morel mushrooms. Here the pasta was paper thin, handkerchief-sized, and quite well suited to the rich pheasant and creamy mushroom sauce. The good doctor had fresh veal with artichoke hearts and asparagus, a special of the evening. I hadn’t eaten veal in some time and somehow I always envision veal as being more tender than this was. It was a very good piece of meat and well-prepared, but it didn’t blow me away. The whole presentation seemed rather pedestrian and I can’t put my finger on exactly why.

We finished up with two desserts, a classic tiramisu and a lemon, poppy seed cake topped with a rich sabayon and under-ripe strawberries. Both were good, but not great. We had shared a $44 bottle of wine and when all was said and done, this was the most expensive meal during my most recent Los Angeles trip at roughly $85 a person and probably the most forgettable. Overall, the service was exemplary and the food satisfactory, but there was nothing to make it shine or especially memorable. The majority of the diners seemed to be movie industry types (I saw many one-sheets and scripts being discussed) and perhaps it is a place for deals to be made. I would return if someone else invited me, but believe there are far better choices in the neighborhood.

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