Sunday, November 14, 2010

A&E Restaurant

A&E 11-6-10 2

Just got back from a trip to China. I missed the food and had to satisfy my craving.

Decided to search for a new option in Alhambra. A&E had a lot a of good reviews and looked like the comfort food I was looking for. Four of us arrived at about noon on a Saturday. We were seated immediately and greeted by the wonderful staff. The menu has photos and English titles, several members of the staff also spoke English.

A&E 11-6-10 1

Our meal started with two cold dishes, bean curd with mustard greens and a bean curd with mushrooms. Both dishes were light and had a subtle flavor. Next up came the beef and tendon noodle soup. The spice level was perfect and the noodles had a great chew to them. Some scallions and cilantro would have added some freshness, but it was delicious nonetheless.

A&E 11-6-10 3

The Thousand Layer Pancake came and the Pan Fried Meat Bun arrived shortly, followed by the Fried Chicken Plate. The Fried Chicken was great, it was served on a plate of rice, some chopped Bok Choy and Pickled Mustard Greens. That dish alone with some hot sauce would be make A&E worth trying. Just so comforting. The Thousand Layer Pancake was good, but the Scallion Pancake was better. The Pan Fried Meat Bun was meaty and delicious.

The last item to arrive was the XLB, what the dumpling lacked in soup it delivered in meat flavor. The filling was meaty and flavorful. With all of these dishes we barely dented the menu. After just getting home from China, A&E was a great option and fulfilled my craving for authentic Chinese food. I look forward to my next visit!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Susan Feniger's Street

Street 2

It was a last minute decision to go out and have dinner. I had my Blackboard Eats discount that expired in one day, so I decided to take advantage and try out Street.

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I was lucky enough to get a table for two at 7pm on a Friday night. We arrived a bit late due to traffic, but we were seated immediately. The interior has an odd layout and the decor is unusual, but all of this in a good way. The menu is has a nice variety of dishes and drinks. I ordered a drink from the Eiixir portion of the menu, don't remember the name exactly, but something "Indian", it was nice and refreshing.

Street 5

The meal starts off with a curry flavored "rice cake", nothing spectacular, but different. And that's how I felt the entire experience was at Street. Our server Sara was helpful and explained how many dishes we should order and what the popular items were. The dishes are meant to be eaten family style and the portions in the medium range.

Street 8

We ordered seven dishes:

Kaya Toast - Very popular dish, too sweet for me

Spinach Varenky - Similar to perogies, served with lemon marmalade, also too sweet

Lamb Kafta Meatballs - Good stuff, more my style

Romaine Leaf Salad - Don't let the name fool you, interesting twist on a "salad"

Tatsutage Fried Chicken - Rock Star, nice contrast in temperature from cold soba noodles, very rich

Portuguese Mussels - New dish in place of the Malaysian Black Pepper Clams, the mussels were delicious and the broth was something new. Chorizo, coconut milk, curry leaf and other ingredients combine as a great combination.

Black Kale with Refried White Beans - So full at this point, but this was also an interesting dish. Served crostini style with anchovey butter it was tasty.

Street 9

With so many flavor profiles, I thought the biggest problems would be conflicting dishes. But that wasn't the case, instead I think the problems had to do with execution of some dishes. The service was great and we even got a visit from the restaurant manager and Chef Feniger herself. If you're looking for a place that has dishes that are out of the norm, Street is a good option.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


I can see why this place is such a favorite for late nighters. A friendly environment and staff, with simple Japanese food.

My sister has been here plenty of times and was excited to have me experience the place. She ordered her usual, Chicken Katsu. I had a hard time deciding, I ended getting the Koraku Tenshin Chahan. It's basically a large shrimp omelette served over a huge mound of fried rice. It also comes with a small bowl of soup. I was told the process was to dip a spoonful of the rice and omelette into the soup. It was pretty darn good. It would been even better if I was drunk.

I don't know when I'll be back with so many options downtown. But I'm happy I was finally able to try one of my sisters favorite places.


Had to check out this place since I was thinking about hosting a party here. Really wanted to take a look at the "private room", I knew the food and beer would be decent.

We ordered the Filipino Maharlika with carmelized onions and spicy peppers. Also had fries with white truffle oil and chipotle ketchup. The sausage was good, but I thought the flavor was very subtle and overpowered by the onions a peppers.

I really like the decor of the place, it's industrial and everybody sits at long communal tables. Didn't try any of the beer, I'll be back for that.

Los Agaves

This was my second visit to Los Agaves. My friends live down the street and it's on the way to the Santa Barbara Bowl.

We got there around 5:30 and it was packed. We waited in line for about 10 mins, once you've ordered they have people that start getting your seating set-up. They've got the process down.

I ordered the special Seafood Molcajete, other items at our table included the lengua special and the Tampiquena. I prepared for my meal, by getting some salsa from the salsa bar. Some really nice salsas, the avocado sauce and habanero salsa are fantastic. As each plate arrived at our table, there was one thing missing, my meal. Some how they didn't get my order in, so I had to wait...and wait. It seemed like an eternity, but my meal finally came. It was delicious, the fish was grilled and placed on the top with sliced avocado, the clams, mussels and shrimp were in the simmering lava rock bowl. The tomato based broth had a nice spice, it reminded me of a Mexican style cioppino. Dipping the fresh tortillas into the broth with the melting cheese was great and the portion was big.

Besides the delay with the meal, everything else was on point.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Yung Ho

Okay, I must admit the only reason I ate here was because Bamboodles next door had a huge wait.

I was not familiar with the menu or any of their specialties. I took some time to peruse the menu and since I can read Chinese I was pretty much screwed. They do have English names for their menu items, but as we all know the English names don't match the Chinese names we are accustomed to.

I went with things I knew would be hard to mess up. Scallion pancakes, fan tuan (which is a sticky rice roll wrapped around different fillings), soy milk and marinated cucumbers. My server looked at me strangely as the items I ordered must have seemed like a strange combo.

The scallion pancakes were flaky and think, different than many I've had recently. Definitely a nice change of pace. The soy milk was nice and the fan tuan was decent. The cucumbers were marinated in a spicy sauce and I thought it could have been better.

Next time I will be prepared to order, but overall I thought Yung Ho had a lot of potential for a simple Taiwanese breakfast.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Kam Hong Garden

Oh man!! Chinese comfort food, I love it.

I've been stuck in a rut recently, it's been Dim Sum and Shanghainese food every time I visit the SGV. I've been craving something else.

Kam Hong Garden satisfied my craving. Spicy Beef noodle soup with knife cut noodles, pan fried buns, scallion pancakes, Zha jiang mian with hand pulled noodles, beef roll and sauteed knife cut noodles with pork and mushrooms.

The beef roll was excellent and on par with 101 Noodle Express. There was the right amount of hoison, cilantro and cucumber, combined with delicious beef and a chewy wrapper.

The knife cut noodles were great and had that great texture you get from the thickness of knife cut noodles. The spicy broth of the beef noodle soup was well balanced and slightly spicy. The beef was perfectly tender without being mushy. The sauteed noodles were good, but the soup version was the way to go.

We ordered the regular scallion pancakes, they also offer a "thick" onion cake. It was also delicious, not to greasy and comparable to Earthen. The pan fried buns were good, filled with pork and mushrooms, they were large and one order was enough for four of us.

I can't wait to come back to Kam Hong Garden to try more delicious dishes. BTW, the service was excellent, our server spoke decent English and offered great recommendations.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Arigato Sushi

arigato 5

Arigato is the goto sushi restaurant for my good friends that live in Santa Barbara. I have eaten here before, but it had been awhile, I was excited. We were in sort of a rush so we didn't enjoy everything Arigato had to offer, but we did have was great.

arigato 2

We sat at the sushi bar in front of Brian. Our meal started off with Halibut Carpaccio and Yuzu Pepper Tai sashimi. Both were delicious, the tai sashimi was really fresh, there was a little too much sauce on the carpaccio and it over powered the fish.

arigato 2 (1)

Next up we had Ankimo, delicious! The chefs made a few special items for us, didn't know the names or all the ingredients, but they were incredible. The highlight was a thinly sliced seared scallop topped with a crab mixture and tobiko. It was also served with cilantro oil and black sesame sauce, it was awesome.

arigato 1 (1)

Looking forward to my next visit. See more photos here.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Church and State

ChurchnState 22

Missed my opportunity to eat Chef Manzke's food, but Chef Josh Smith still delivered a great meal.

It was a birthday celebration, table for four on a Friday night at 8:30. It's not in a great part of town, but the actual location is pretty cool. We arrived early and sat at the bar to have some cocktails. Don't remember the names, but they were delicious and very inventive.

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The place is bustling and the energy spread throughout the room. We sat down and perused the menu, classic French bistro fare with a few modern interpretations. The bread arrived shortly and was nice and hot, the outside crust was crunchy and the the crumb was fluffy, great start.

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So many of the starters looked good and we were starving, so we asked our server if we could order starters and then order entrees if we were still hungry. With a little hesitation, he said that wouldn't be a problem. We ordered the following:

Moules Marinières
Steak Tartare
Escargots de Bourgogne
Rillettes de Porc
Salade Frisée aux Lardons
Gratin de Macaronis et Fromage

They were out of the Crispy Pig Ears.

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The mussels were good, tender and fresh, the broth was flavorful, but could have used a little more salt. I was disappointed with the Pork Rillette, it was dry and just didn't have the texture I've had from Comme CA or AOC, I also wasn't a fan of the prune. The Frisee salad, Escargot and Steak Tartare were all decent, several of the dishes were served with french fries, they were tasty too.

ChurchnState 19

The star for me was the Macaroni and Cheese. It was so rich and cheesy and the blend of cheeses was delicious. I couldn't stop eating it.

We never made to ordering entrees and decided to go somewhere else to have dessert. I would love to come back and have a more structured meal, maybe even lunch.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Kyochon - Korean Style Chicken Wings

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I love all kinds of chicken wings!

So I had to try Korean style chicken wings. These weren't bad. But I would definitely go for the fried version versus the grilled version. The fat is rendered out so the skin is much crispier. I love anything spicy, so the spicy version I found much tastier than the sweet version. It definitely had some heat.

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We also tried out the Sal Sal chicken strips. These were chicken tenders that were battered with flour mixed with small rice balls. Definitely better than your average chicken strip, so much crispier. The dipping sauce options were not good, all of them were cloyingly sweet and one of them was supposed to be garlic.

They were the best chicken wings I've ever had, but I can see having a craving them.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Banh Mi Cho Cu Bakery

I'm not out in the Westminster area very often, so I had to find a quality Banh Mi. Cho Cu Bakery was the place.

We ordered the #9, #3 and there most popular #1. The #9 was the egg banh mi, I loved this one. The egg was rich and well seasoned, in combination with the fresh vegetables and crusty bread, it was perfect. The #3 was the bbq pork, which is a classic, was also delicious. The pork had a nice char siu flavor. The most popular banh mi was #1 which is a combination of pork and ham. Not sure why this was the favorite, it was good, but I just didn't like the meat as much as the other choices.

The best things about this place, is the bread. It is amazingly light and crusty. Another highlight is the friendly staff, I never got her name, but the girl that helped me was so nice and informative. If I'm ever back in Westminster and I'm looking for banh mi, I'll be here.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Five Guys Burgers

Heard about them and read about them, but never had a chance to try out Five Guys. I heard they were the number one contender to the fast food burger crown out here on the left coast, that crown owned by In n Out.

Their main menu consists of hamburgers and "little" hamburgers. The hamburgers have two four ounce patties and the "little" hamburgers have just one. The key difference is at Five Guys is they have BACON! That is a great option that In n Out doesn't offer.

There are also burger topping options and they are all free. So if you're feeling simple, you can have just ketchup. Or you can be creative and get grilled mushrooms, bbq sauce and jalapenos.

I went with the classic combination of lettuce, tomato, grilled onions and mayo. All of that on a "little" bacon cheeseburger. The fries are fresh and fried in peanut oil, salted or cajun style. I went with salted and a side of cajun seasoning.

I like the fries much better than In n Out, thicker and fluffy on the inside. I also liked them salted versus cajun. The burger was good, but not better then In n Out, something about the flavors of the beef from In n Out just make it better. To compare apples to apples, next time I'll need to get my burger without bacon. The Five Guys beef lacked flavor and the cheese was pretty bland. The bun was soft with sesame seeds and nicely toasted. The grilled onions were nothing like In n Out, there was no carmelization.

As Jelp mentioned in his review, it is a bit noisy. But I didn't find it to be that big of a deal. The topping options are nice and the prices are comparable, but the burgers just aren't as good as In n Out, IMO. Looking forward to another visit to try out other combinations.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

J&J Jin Jian Restaurant

With Mei Long Village being next door, I've never thought about going to J&J. But my last few visits to MLV, I noticed lines at J&J, so I decided to try it out.

The place seats about 35 people and specializes in Shanghainese food like it's neighbor MLV. The Xiao Long Bao (Soup Dumplings), have been getting a lot of fanfare recently, as well as other steamed dumplings. They have a pretty lengthy menu, with Chef specialties, noodles, dumplings and rice.

We ordered a lot of dishes, our meal started with the following:

Sauteed Spinach
Marinated Smoked Fish (Cold Plate)
Chinese Mustard Greens with Bean Curd (Cold Plate)

The spinach was not the freshest, but it was sauteed nicely with a hint of garlic. Both cold plates were good, but the fish was really delicious. It had a similar flavor to Chinese red braised beef, a little sweetness and some saltiness. The next set of dishes were:

Scallion Pancakes
Shanghai Noodles
Steamed Vegetable Dumplings
Shengjian mantou

I thought the XLB was good, but not better than MLV next door. The dumpling skins were too thin and broke on contact, letting all of the delicious broth leak out. The Shanghai Noodles looked promising, but lacked seasoning. The Scallion pancakes, were crispy but also lacked salt. I did enjoy the vegetable dumplings and shengjian mantou.

Typical service for a Chinese restaurant in SGV and he prices a comparable. This is another decent Shanghainese restaurant, but there are so many, each with strengths. At the end it just comes down to your preference.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Bottega Louie

Great space. Great Service. Good food.

Showed up around 11:30 on Memorial Day. We had a party of three and no reservations, we were seated immediately. None of us had been here before, so we browsed the menu thoroughly. The top half of the menu broken down by salads, soups, pizzas, entrees, sandwiches and pasta. The bottom half has small plates, poultry, meat and seafood.
It's kinda confusing how it's broken up, but in the end it all works out.

We ordered the following, Mache Salad, Gazpacho, Aranchini, Yellowtail Crudo, Cauliflower Gratinee, Chicken Carcioffi and the Kobe Beef Burger.

The salad and soup started off our meal, both were delicious. The salad was light and refreshing, it included shredded chicken, avocado, green onions. celery, mache, lemon and olive oil . Just a really clean and simple salad, the chicken was seasoned perfectly.

The gazpacho was poured at the table, with the vegetable condiments prepared in the bowl. It was a well made gazpacho, but would have been better with a little heat.

The small plates were good, the arancini and crudo were a bit pricey for what they were. I thought cauliflower was a bit under cooked and could have been a bit cheesier.

The chicken carcioffi was nice, but because it is served a la carte, there was no starch to help the saltiness of the dish. With capers and artichoke hearts, the sauce was just too salty. The dish had a lot of potential but just wasn't well executed.

I didn't taste the burger, but it looked pretty good. The fries were average. Last but not least, were the desserts. We had the lemon tart and budino, I don't have a sweet tooth, so I skipped this course. But I was told they were both delicious.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Kanda Sushi

I'd been reading reviews on Chowhound about this place. Could it be true? A traditional sushi restaurant in the Conejo Valley that doesn't make all kinds of specialty rolls with ridiculous sauces?

It's true! We sat at the sushi bar on a Saturday night, it was 7pm. The sushi bar which seats about 15 people was empty. Two sushi chefs worked behind the bar and a server took our drink orders. The owner and head sushi chef is named Mitsu, he was the previous chef at Sushi Tei in Oak Park several years ago. His focus is on fresh fish with several varieties flown in from Japan.

We our meal consisted of the following:

Ankimo appetizer - Monk fish liver steamed in sake with grated spicy radish and yuzu ponzu
Albacore Nigiri
Wlid Alaskan Salmon Nigiri
Kohada Nigiri
Amberjack Nigiri
Tuna Tataki Sashimi
Raw Octopus Nigiri
Hamachi Nigiri
Japanese Uni
Shishito Peppers
Spicy Scallop Handroll
Toro Handroll

Everything was fresh and simply prepared. All of the nigiri was seasoned or sauced by Mitsu-san, so there was no need for any dipping. The Kohada, Amberjack, Albacore and Octopus were excellent.

The handrolls are not what you normally see, instead of the "sno-cone" rolls you see at most sushi restaurants. Kanda's handrolls are more like cigars, a uniform tube shape. They also don't use mayonaise for their sauce. So the Spicy Scallop Handroll was a bit strange for me, the sauce was too sweet and seemed like it had miso in it.

We sat at the bar for about two hours and the bar never got full. As the their websites states Kanda does not offer any soy paper or "unauthentic" items. Their decision not to offer the typical sushi experience may hurt their business.

The service was excellent, the prices were on the high end. But if you're looking for a wider variety of fish that is fresh as can be, then Kanda is a great option. I'm looking forward to Kanda being my local sushi spot.

More photos here

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Photo courtesy of 90PlusWines

It's been awhile since I'd been back to AOC. I was looking forward to the casual atmosphere, great wine selection and simple but well executed menu.

We had reservations for party of two, Saturday night at 9pm. We arrived about ten minutes late, but we were seated immediately. The restaurant was pretty quite but most tables were full. We were seated at a nice table next to the wine bar.

AOC has an extensive wine menu and I left the decision making to my dining companion. We ordered a carafe of a Syrah, sorry I don't remember the winery or the year. Each carafe contains a little more than two glasses of wine. For food we kept it simple and pretty light.

grilled leeks, burrata, salbitxada
avocado, cara cara oranges, little gems
clams, sherry, wild mushrooms and garlic
arroz negro with squid and saffron aïoli
chocolate "french toast" with crushed hazelnuts and coffee ice cream

My favorite of the night was the arroz negro with squid and saffron aïoli. The rice is very hearty with a deep savoriness, a very satisfying dish. The avocado salad was also a nice combination with the oranges, very simple but well executed. For dessert we paired the Chocolate French Toast with a very nice Madeira. It was recommended by our server and it a great way to finish the meal.

AOC is a great option for fine dining in LA. With their small plates you are able to try many of the menu items, nice casual dining atmosphere and great service.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Don Diego's

Are you looking for a casual place to have dinner within walking distance of the Palm Desert Best Western? Well Don Diego's, is not a bad choice. Especially if you're looking for ginormus margaritas!

We sat outside in patio area it was a beautiful spring evening. The menu has the typical American-Mexican dishes, but it was all centered around the cocktail menu, literally, it's dead center in the menu. I ordered a Tres Generations margarita, then I was asked what size. Size? These things come in sizes? I figured I would play it safe and go with the medium.

The chips and salsa were delivered and they were mediocre at best. We also had a side of guac, it was also so-so. Then our drinks were delivered, with a fork lift. J/K But it was quite a surprise, the medium margarita was probably equal to three "normal" size margaritas. Definitely not a sad site to see. It was well made and I knew I had mission ahead of me to finish it.

I ordered the Ensenada Fish tacos with a side of rice and beans. The fish tacos were okay, I had the fish charbroiled and it seemed to be pretty fresh. It comes with a mayonnaise based "chipotle" sauce, which I ordered on the side. That was a good decision, the sauce was very bland and did not add any hint of heat.

The service was excellent, the location is perfect if you're looking for a short stroll. The food is what you would find at most Americanized Mexican restaurants, no inspiration or originality.

And yes I did finish the margarita.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Wood Spoon

So we decided to try this place out before going to the Yelp Elements party. It's a quaint little place with pillows that aligning the banquet.

The water is served to each table in a carafe with different "ingredients". Our carafe had a few sprigs of rosemary, which imparted a nice savory flavor. Other carafes had cinnamon sticks, orange peels, etc...It was a nice touch.

The menu is simple and straight-forward. I had read about the pot pie, but it sounded too heavy. So I went with the fish sandwich. We also started off with the mix plate, which included the following Coxinha, Potato Croquette, Portuguese Croquette, Pastel Portuguese & Kibe.

Coxinha - Brazil’s most popular street food (made with chicken)
Portuguese Croquette - potato salted Cod
Kibe - bulgur wheat, mint & ground beef
Pastel Portuguese - dumpling stuffed with shrimp, coconut sauce

These were served with some type of "aioli", I think it was parsley. The Pastel Portuguese was by far my favorite, mainly because the flavor combination was so unique. The other items were very similar and did not have the "Wow" factor.

The fish sandwich was served with either a side of yam fries or salad. We went with the salad, which was nicely dressed in a mile vinaigrette. The fish looked to be pan seared with a nice seasoning. Tilapia is not my favorite fish, but it was bad. Usually the flavor is a bit muddy to me. The avocado, tomatoes and cilantro made it a nice balanced fish sandwich. It's a nice portion size too. This was all washed down with their house sangria which was delicious.

The service was a bit scattered, considering it wasn't that busy. Overall a nice place downtown.

Monday, March 22, 2010

East 180

Probably one of the nicest decorated Chinese restaurants I've been to lately. But as we all know with nice decor and ambience you usually sacrifice quality and authenticism.

East 180 is located about an hour and a half from where I live, so it was quite a trek. My mom had recommend it and we decided to head out on a Saturday afternoon. It's located in Diamond Bar and along the way you will pass many exceptional Chinese restaurants.

Reading some of the Yelp reviews, was prepared for something less than exceptional. The first thing you'll notice when you enter is the decor, it's pretty darn nice. The building used to be a Sizzler and you would not be able to tell. The restaurant was pretty empty, maybe four or five tables were full. Not a good sign on a Saturday afternoon. But once we sat down and started to review the menu, we knew why. On weekends the the dinner menu is served all day, which means the prices are pretty high for lunch.

We ordered the some items that my mom had tried before and some standard items. Beef Fried Rice, Sauteed Spinach, Salt Baked Chicken, Shrimp and Rice Noodles with Black Bean Sauce, Sweet and Sour Spare Ribs and Salt Pepper Fish.

The shrimp dish arrived first and it was the best dish of the day. The rice noodles were sauteed with black bean and served on top of the sauteed shrimp. The black bean added a nice saltyness. All of the dishes were garnished with some pickled cucumbers.

Several dishes arrived at once, the ribs which were incredibly sweet, not to my liking. The salt baked chicken was presented by our server in the clay pot and taken back to be plated. It was very nice, the chicken was moist and the salt added nice flavor to the chicken. The dipping sauce served with the chicken was strange, it looked like a sesame sauce, but tasted very tart.

The salt pepper fish was okay, not enough seasoning and the batter was not crisp. Spinach was well done and the beef fried rice wasn't too bad. The restaurant prides itself for using organic ingredients and no MSG. This is unusual for most Chinese places. But that is part of the reason the prices are high. If that is important to you, then East 180 is a good option.

Since we ere celebrating my mom's and sister's birthday, we ended the meal with their Taro Almond dessert. My mom and my sister both loved it.

Unless I'm in the neighborhood, I probably won't make the trek again. There are just so many great Chinese restaurants, that it was an opportunity to mark it off the list.


Friday night, dinner reservations for two at 7:00 pm.

This would be my first visit to Valentinos which has been one of the top restaurants in Los Angeles for several years. After getting a discount offer from Blackboard Eats, this was a perfect opportunity.

I was looking forward to enjoying the set tasting menu, but after hearing about the specials and reviewing the menu, I had second thoughts. Our servers name was Paul and he couldn't have been more helpful. He suggested that we order what we wanted and he would see what he could do. So we decided to go with the Prosciutto e Burrata starter, as well as the Il Timballo di Funghi. For our entrees we ordered the IL Risotto Nero ai Frutti di Mare and the Grilled Seafood Trio special.

Since we were planning on sharing, Paul said that we could make our order into a four course split tasting with wine pairing, Nice! The bread served was forgettable, breadsticks, some smaller white and poppy seed rolls. But I was not here for bread.

The Prosciutto e Burrata was the first started delivered and it was paired with a full glass of Proseco. This dish was so simple, but so delicious, the ingredients were top notch. The burrata was so creamy, and complimented the salty prosciutto. It was also served with something they called "gnocco frito", which was a little fried piece of dough. This dish was a perfect way to start.

Next up was the Il Timballo di Funghi, this was a savory flan made with wild mushrooms, served with a Parmesean and Saffron Fonduta. The mushroon "flan" or custard was so delicate and subtle. A nice earthly flavor which was paired with a sauce that was light and silky. I thought the sauce could have had a bit more seasoning, but the whole dish was very nice. The mushroom dish was paired with a Rosé,

First entree up was the IL Risotto Nero ai Frutti di Mare. A squid ink risotto topped with a seafood medley, which included calamari, shrimp and fish. Wow! I loved this dish. The risotto was delicious, the squid ink added a subtle ocean flavor and saltyness. The color contrast between the black risotto and small white pieces of seafood, was beautiful. Overall this was just a very nice and well balanced dish. Our server brought over the wrong wine for this course, so he actually poured two glasses of wine, one was for the last seafood course. He let us decide which one we though paired better and the one they choose was perfect. Sorry but I don't remember what the two varietals that were chosen.

I was getting pretty full after the risotto course, but the last course was the Grilled Seafood Trio. This plate included grilled dover sole, grilled turbot, lobster claw meat and grilled branzino, grilled asparagus was also included to add color. The seafood was served with a trio of sauces, a heirloom tomato butter sauce, a brown butter sauce and a caper berry and citrus sauce. Once again the quality of the ingredients really shined. The sole and turbot were delicious and perfectly cooked. The sauces were okay, but the brown butter sauce was the star and paired well with all of the seafood.

We closed out our meal with the Molten Chocolate cake, served with pair ice cream. Our server brought out a 1997 port for this course, that was awesome.

I can see why Valentinos has the reputation it does. The service was flawless and the food was delicious.