Remember back in October of last year, when we were informed by Eater that Il Grano, Western LA’s fine Italian restaurant known for its truffle menus (and consequently La Bottega Marino next door) were closing? Since then, I’ve been watching things carefully. Recently, the façade was redone, and the windows papered over indicating that a new establishment was taking over. And now we know what is coming to the space at 11359 Santa Monica Boulevard. It turns out, the upcoming restaurant will be a new venture named The Nickel Bar, brought to you by the same people behind Studio City’s The Woodman and Cocina Condesa. I had a chance to speak to a rep, who gave me the skinny on the upcoming bar/restaurant. The focus here is local sourcing for drinks/food in a cozy neighborhood environment with a prominent bar. And while they’re still working things out, the menu will feature New York style pizza. We wish them the best of luck. Look for a projected August 1st opening.
Surely one of the loveliest places in LA to savor a balmy summer evening is on the patio at celeb fave Culina in the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. Recently, Culina got a serious Italian makeover. Under the direction of assistant general manager and sommelier Luca Bruno (Providence, Bouchon), the always crowded restaurant recently took on a new and talented young sous chef, Denis Dello Stritto. Originally hailing from Sardinia and after cutting his teeth for a year at Il Grano, the effervescent and creative Stritto has already begun to transform the menu. Look for serious Southern Italian flavors here, with an emphasis on Campagna; house-made pastas, fish, fresh and local ingredients. And if you’re extremely lucky, you just made get a chance to sample pizza montanara, which is a Neapolitan pie with toppings on deep-fried dough that Stritto serves as small, individual hors d’oeuvre. What could be better for a late summer al fresco dinner?
Dennis Dello Stritto & Luca Bruno