Brunello Has Heart & Soul
Culver City, CA
Brunello Trattoria effects a family atmosphere of friendliness, busy, but not chaotic, with an enthusiastic following and a place to eat terrific home cooking. It's a family affair with chef "mama" foods that warm the heart. One might think of the quaintly nostalgic trattoria you might have remembered when in Italy that was enthusiastically zinged with intense flavors. While dining, I remember thinking of this place as having an Italian soul, so Vampires beware, there's garlic in the air!
Part of "Bruno's" charm is the location, set in an interesting old part of LA's eclecticism where restaurant owners are luring diners looking for "viva la difference." So we dined on amazing food, drank incredible wine, and the pleasure will be remembered.
We dined at tables clothed in white linens under Tulip shaped chandeliers. There's also an interesting bar that runs through the middle of the room that could also be used as a counter for those that wish to watch something special on television. The walls are shaded terra cotta, and textured, very much like some of the places in Italy, and along with candlelight sconces there's an exposed shelved wine cellar. All the windows surrounding the restaurant add to the décor with their short brown shades and ornamental glass. In addition, they have a good looking extra room for events and groups, or perhaps for people that want to enjoy their own little party.
Besides the many small photo's of Naples on an entire wall, they have an outstanding large 18TH century oil painting of a Spaghetti House and how it was being cooked in that century. This piece is extremely interesting and you won't be able to miss it.
After a fine glass of red wine and basket homemade pizza bread, we were ready to dine, and began our meal with grilled Portabello mushrooms and Radicchio, topped with a creamy Burratta cheese tossed in aged Balsamic. We followed with an excellent combination of Linguini, Shrimp, Scallops and Radicchio dressed in olive oil, garlic, and white wine. I thought the Risotto prepared with onions, peas, mushrooms, and sundried tomato in white wine with a touch of "Gorgonzola." (blue cheese) was one of the best tasting versions I can remember. But the entire dinner was terrific, ending with Mahi Mahi from Hawaii, amazingly grilled in a lemon sauce, sided with mashed potatoes. Whenever the dessert list includes "Tiramisu," I must have it and by now everyone probably knows the name means "lift me to the heavens" It really does the job! The dinner was great, and quite often I think the Italians invented love through their cooking.
The menu covers a lot of exceptional dishes priced from $6.50 to $14.50, and the only thing over that amount is "Ossobuco, ($22.50). I could hardly believe that you can have half a chicken baked with potatoes, onions and tomatoes included in the amount listed. Their Ossobuco is popular, (braised veal shank) with peas and mushrooms, served with spinach and roasted potatoes. In addition, the menu features three different pastas for every day of the week, and vegetarians are happy with the meatless lasagna, prepared with ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan cheese, plus eggplant and spinach in a tomato basil bechamel sauce. I can't resist Penne Arrabbiata in a kicky tomato sauce, (if you're looking for less calories). They have their own Pizza oven which turns out sensational choices; or choose your own ingredients. The Puttanesca is a dandy, named after the ladies of the night. They take pizza bread, add tomato sauce, garlic, oregano, capers, black olives, and perhaps anchovies, then it's back to work quickly.
Besides Calamari, and various soups and salads, the menu offers Carpaccio Carciofini: very thin slices of raw filet mignon topped with arugola, artichokes, shaved Parmesan cheese, lemon juice and olive oil. The chicken dishes are presented "alla Griglia," (pounded); also al Limone, with lemon sauce and capers; or breaded and baked with tomato sauce, and mozzarella. Specials are recited at the table every night.
So take someone to appreciate your good taste, and toast to the "marvelous new find," "A la salute. Salute. Cin cin" Brunello Trattoria; 6001 Washington Blvd., Culver City; (310)280-3856 Self-curb parking; Major credit cards accepted; catering. Lunch; Mon-Fri, 11:00am-2:30pm lunch. Closed Monday evening; Dinner six days from 5:00pm.