Have your been to Pastina Lately?
Pastina is an award-winning restaurant, and anyone that goes there returns sometimes as many as six more times. Franco, the owner has booths that are never empty. It's the perfect spot.
Upon entering, one gets the illusion of two dining rooms, effected by high backed comfortable tapestry banquettes used to shelve large plants and fine wines. It's highly polished and beautifully endowed with translucent wall lighting set behind arty diamond shaped decorative glass. And a magnificent sky‑light of colors stands-out as a showpiece in the afternoon when the outside light comes through. Pastina is a beautiful Mediterranean styled restaurant, a neighborhood jewel with a big heart along with an open kitchen and dynamite dishes. And like a sensuous pilgrimage, I look forward to the freshly made pie‑shaped pizza breads baked throughout the day.
Chicken Cacciatora, is popular, (meaning "hunter style"). After the big hunt the bird would be cooked in chunks of green and red peppers, white wine, onions, garlic, mushrooms, and tomatoes. And it's still served that way at Pastina's. Osso Buco Milanese, a veal shank served with saffron rice is a signature dish here. And other tried-and-true preparations are the scampi platters; one with garlic and mushrooms in a lemon and white wine; the other is combined with scallops, paired to a spicy tomato sauce. If your fancy is veal, the chef does an excellent scaloppini topped with eggplant, prosciutto, and mozzarella in a white wine.
But now, this upscale restaurate has a four-course dinner with a prix fixe menu priced at $25.95 per person. It begins with a choice of appetizer; Soup of the Day; Insalata Verde, or insalata di Csare; It follows with Pa]enne alla vodka, or Arrabbiata, or Spaghetti Bolagnese, or Fettuccine alla Burina. The main course is New York Steak, Fish of the Day, Baby Rack of lamb, Scampi all'Agliata, Veal Parmigiana, or Petto di Pollo Marsala or Cacciatora. It ends with dessert of Flourless Chocolate Cake, Pecan Bar or Tiramisu.
Franco's kitchen features one of the best salmon dishes I've ever had; try the one with honey-mustard sauce. And don't miss the Italian desserts, some flown in from Italy! We ended our meal with Italy's tiramisu, and how can you not love those Italians who dream so much of love that they even bake it into their dessert. In essence, tiramisu as interpreted means "lift me to the heavens," and it does.
Most of us are creatures of habit, returning to the same restaurant every time we eat out. I think the cuisine here is "as-good-as-it-gets" and highly recommended it for a comfortable change, whether you're alone or looking for a jump‑start on an old romance. So relax with a glass of wine, and learn to say "chin chin."
2260 Westwood Blvd., between Pico and Olympic Blvd; (310) 441‑4655; Valet & Street parking; banquets; major credit cards accepted; 4-star wine list; limited delivery; closed Sunday. For more information, visit www.pastina.net