Today is: Saturday, February 17, 2018
La Piazza Restaurant Review
The Grove at Farmer's Market
La Piazza’s prime location at the Grove Farmer’s Market in Los Angeles. It makes
it a place to see and be seen, with 2 floors, a wonderful patio dining downstairs
and upstairs, also with 2 amazing bars, again one downstairs and one upstairs and
of windows facing the hippest corner at The Grove. A warm interior with the suggestion
of an Italian villa where Master Chef Jose Leriano prepares the
authentic Italian specialties that put La Piazza in the top ten of Italian restaurants
in the area. Add to that an excellent selection of Italian wines, moderate prices,
and an enthusiastic staff, and it’s easy to see why La Piazza is booked up daily.
La Piazza at the Grove
Walking into La Piazza, it is evident why the restaurant is one of the most popular
in the Grove area. The ambiance is comforting, the atmosphere lively, and the energy
bustling with excitement. The restaurant’s prime location, within walking distance
from Nordstrom, and all the fancy stores, makes it an ideal place to see and be
seen, and it is no surprise that restaurant tall walls are entirely glass,
providing one of the best views.
La Piazza at the Grove
A first choice for everything from casually elegant dinners to corporate and private
parties, La Piazza has played host to many of the city’s most prestigious events.
While this is partly due to the restaurant’s ideal atmosphere, including a private
bar area, a semi private dining section, and amenities such as a full bar with
talented bartenders and state of the art audio-visual equipment; part of this undoubtedly
stems from the genuine passion and excitement of Executive
Chef Jose Leriano, which we all find such a gracious host as well. While the atmosphere
is one of the most inviting around, it is the food and the service
that makes La Piazza a favorite among locals and visitors alike.
Seated at our table, amid the glass windows, I first noticed the lengths to which
Michael the manager goes to share the best of his native country. Bottles of extra-virgin
olive oil and oak-aged Balsamic Vinegar sat on our table, which we eagerly sampled
with the warm rolls that our server, John, quickly brought to us. The complexity
of the olive oil was a delightful treat, as was the balance of the aged vinegar.
We immediately knew we were in for an evening of the highest quality.
After fawning over the wine list, which offers one of the best selections of Italian
wines I have seen, I ordered a glass of Tormaresca Chardonnay from Puglia. Connoisseurs
will delight in La Piazza’s vast collection if Italian wines, especially the exclusive
selection from the owner’s personal cellar, which includes several vintages of the
revered Tignanello and Solaia Antinori wines. For those less inclined to indulgence,
the wine list contains an equally extensive and approachable selection of reasonably
priced Italian and American wines, both by the glass and bottle.
Fiamminga di Melanzane (Baked Eggplant)
Turning out attention to the dinner menu, which seemed almost as extensive as the
wine list, I must admit I felt slightly overwhelmed. In addition to the selection
of Antipasti, Insalate, Primi, and Secondi courses, a generous selection of daily
specials prepared by Chef Jose Leriano all looked tempting. Thankfully, our server
was well versed in the intricacies of each dish, so much so that his eyes displayed
vicarious delight as he described them. His list of recommendations was long as
well as varied, demonstrating Lerianos’range of talent. John excitedly recommended
a variety of appetizers that we could not miss: The Fiamminga di Melanzane, oven
eggplant with tomato sauce, basil, mozzarella and parmigiano, simply
tasting like the one my Italian grandmother use to
make for us, my guests were
fighting over it.
Carpaccio di Salmone
Carpaccio di Bue
The Carpaccio di Salmone and the Carpaccio di Bue, were also
two of our choices, and they were absolutely the best, the carpaccio slices had
the consistency of silk, threatening to slip off our forks as we lifted them from
plate. The slices were fresh and exquisite, although the dish’s excellence was truly
revealed with a bite that combined the delicate meat with the lemon pesto dressing.
While alone each component of this trio was excellent, together the bite seemed
to take on certain synergy, approaching the sublime. I am a carpaccio lover, and
truly give to these a 10 plus to these 2 excellent carpaccio dishes.
Half and Half
One of our guest is a Calamari’s lover, so we order the Calamari Fritti, what a
great starter as well, the calamari came with fried zucchini and were served
with the best spicy marinara sauce aside, a truly winner as well.
As far as our entrées goes, we got a surprise from the kitchen and tried their amazing
pizzas, which are baked crispy and crunchy, our pizza had 2 sides, one Capricciosa
with artichokes, ham, mushroom, black olives and mozzarella, and the other side
with Salame Pepperoni with mozzarella and spicy pepperoni. A unique pizza, which
we would ultimately have ordered, no doubts, simply divine!
This sensation would continue throughout our meal, as Chef Lerianos’s creations
would demonstrate brilliance in strategically intertwining distinct flavors and
textures to reach heightened sensations of taste.
Ravioli di Vitello
ai Tre Funghi
This was certainly true with the Ravioli di Vitello ai Funghi Selvatici, a homemade
pasta filled with veal and spinach in a creamy mushroom sauce. Each bite was an
explosion of flavor that gave way to a melting sensation as the flavors dissipated
and the ravioli dissolved on our tongues. I couldn’t help but feel that this unique
dish creatively intertwining with the ingredients screamed the essence of Northern
Outside, a constant stream of foot traffic filled the brick sidewalks, for a moment,
I imagined myself in the heart of Florence, seated at an elegant outdoor table
at a small Trattoria. The experience, I realized, would be quite similar.
Pesce Persico All’Astice
My wandering mind was brought back to Los Angeles, when a generous dish of Pesce
Persico All’Astice was set before us. The dish was cooked to perfection.
The delicious fish was firm to the bite, giving way to a rush of flavor from the
sauce caught between lobster sauce, it was also served with mashed potatoes and
vegetables. I realized I had never before tasted fish cooked this perfectly.
Grilled Skirt Steak in Red Wine and Porcini Mushroom Sauce
Next dish; Fettina ai Ferri, thin cut marinated and grilled skirt steak in red wine
and Porcini mushroom sauce, served with roasted potatoes and vegetable. This is
an Italian masterpiece without no exception. Slow cooked over the course of a
day, the tender and generous portion of meat was perfectly cooked when it
arrived on our table. The soft meat dissolved upon hitting the tongue,
imparting a savory sensation throughout the mouth.
Ruffino Pinot Grigio
John brought us a glass of Ruffino Pinot Grigio, which he thought would pair excellently
with the Risotto ai Tre Funghi we had ordered. The crisp pinot grigio seemed refreshing
after such decadent meals. The risotto, a traditional accompaniment was again, perfectly
al dente. The rice was firm to the bite, providing a fitting contrast to the soft
meat. We savored the clean bites, contemplating the genius of the classic pairing
of this trio of ingredients. Again, Loriano’s talent arose in intertwining
distinct textures, and each bite that combined the firm risotto, the thick
tomato sauce, and the tender steak was absolutely sublime.
Tagliata di Bue, Grilled New York Steak
Our last dish was the Tagliata di Bue, a Grilled New York steak sliced open
face, topped with Tuscan herbs in an olive oil infusion. Served
with rugola and radicchio salad.
Crostata, a Cake-Like Pastry Filled with Fresh Fruits
Feeling at ease in the warm and by now bustling dining room and tempted by the lavish
desserts of Italy, we decided to indulge in a flavorful end to our meal. We opted
for two traditional Italian desserts; the Crostata a cake-like pastry filled with
fresh fruits, and crème Brule, a perfect conclusion to a truly impressive meal.
Master Chef Jose Leriano
Our Friendly Server
As we walked out on to the Grove Farmer’s Market shopping, we all were content and
full, I knew that La Piazza was a place I would delightfully return to. For
being so far from his native home, Chef Loriano provides an excellent
rendition of true cocina Italiana, bringing the authenticity of an
Italian restaurant to the lucky streets of Los Angeles.
For map and location click Here!
For more information please visit their website at www.thegrovela.com
Article By: Mary Adams
Photos By: Chris Marx
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