Friday, October 22, 2010

Terroni- Italian comfort fare. Just like in Naples.

On a cold Fall night, I made my way towards Terroni. Towards a bowl of fresh pasta. Towards a night of wine and good company in dianatakesabite and funwithkate. It didn't matter that I had stuffed my face with chicken vindaloo just a couple hours prior. It didn't matter that I didn't wake up in time for pilates that morning. It didn't matter that I was supposed to be on a loose diet in preparation for my 9+ course dinner at The French laundry this weekend. No, I knew tonight, I was going to indulge in a carb fest. And I was going to enjoy every strand of pasta. Guilt free.

Terroni is a restaurant specializing in Southern Italian cuisine. They are known for their fresh pastas and pizzas. Unfortunately with their strict no modifications/changes policy to the menu, it makes it difficult for a person like me who prefers their pizza "light on cheese". The pizzas are served Neapolitan style - thin crust and not pre-sliced. That means you have to cut it up with your fork and knife, or preferable tear it apart yourself. Just like in Naples.

There are no reservations so you'll need to wait for your whole party to arrive before being seated. But that's not an issue, they have a relatively decent sized U-shaped bar with very friendly bartenders.

Diana managed to finagle a wine tasting from the bartender which included a selection of reds.

I opted for a glass of Rose.

As we waited at the bar, we were served a stuzzichino of zucchini, eggplant, salami and mozzarella. It was very tasty with well seasoned zucchini and eggplant, and a nice kick of spice from the salami. I also enjoyed the buttery pastry that held everything together.

Apart from the regular menu, Terroni offered a couple items on their specials menu.

Bread was served with olive oil. You can request their signature spicy pepperoncini, which is an absolute must. I'm not a big fan of bell peppers so to my delight, this tasted more like minced chili peppers. They definitely packed a spice and were really addictive. Terroni also sells these in jars in the market section of the restaurant.

Ricchia - Arugula, Fresh Mushrooms, Shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano, Lemon and Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
The peppery arugula paired well with the salty cheese and was adequately dressed in a light citrus dressing. I really enjoyed the simplicity of this salad and it goes to show that only a few fresh ingredients are sufficient to create a satisfying dish.

Arancini (risotto balls) topped with shaved Parmesan.

The arancini was filled with piping hot risotto, meat, gooey fresh cheese and tomato sauce. This was the epitome of comfort food. It almost tasted like a lasagna croquette.

Spaghetti ca’ Pummarola N’Goppa - Homemade Spaghetti in a Fresh Tomato Sauce with Basil and Garlic
A simple pasta dish which unfortunately, was just that. Simple. The pasta was thick and starchy. The sauce was simply D.O.P. San Marzano. Just like in Naples.

Capunti al Ragu’ d’Agnello - Handmade capunti pasta with slow cooked lamb ragu and pecorino shavings
The ragu was not as delicate or crumbly as I had expected. In fact, coupled with the thick capuni, this was a rather hearty dish. A good choice of pasta as the crevice of the pasta held sufficient sauce and meat in every bite.

Linguine alle Vongole e Bottarga - Homemade linguine pasta with clams and bottarga in a white wine sauce
Don't even ask for Parmesan as it is not served with seafood dishes. Just like in Naples. Even though the pasta was fresh, it seemed to clump together and was hard to pull apart. It's interesting that they served this dish with a fork and knife so I ended up using my knife to cut through the mountain of pasta. The pasta was intensely flavored with seafood essence. It was absolutely delicious. Every strand of pasta was salty and briny, and covered with tiny specks of bottarga. I could not put my fork (and knife) down. This was definitely what I was looking for - good ole comforting pasta.

For the most part, I was pleased with the dishes especially the arancini, salad and the linguine vongole. Unfortunately service was lacking. Granted service was attentive and friendly at the bar, but the waiters serving our table were curt and aloof. No smiles, no welcome, no asking if we wanted to start with a glass of wine, no inquiring if we enjoyed our meal or if we needed anything else. There was also a long wait for the dessert menu and for the check. But then again, maybe this is how it's done, in Naples.

Hits: vongole, arancini
Misses: service
Rating: ***

7605 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 954-0300


Liz said...

The arancini looks yum! I like to make a huge batch and stuff them in the freezer.

Anonymous said...

Service always suck pine nuts here, as if on purpose. It's been a solid year since we've visited. So what you're saying is: you love to eat Italian sausages.

Marie said...

Been curious about this place since it opened, especially since it's always busy. Thanks for the reminder to check it out!

stuffycheaks said...

Liz - oooh.. recipe??

sinosoul - hahah i dont discriminate on sausages

Marie - don't forget to get there early, since no reservations taken. Have fun! maybe grab a seat at the bar, with better service :)

crish said...

It is very nice blog.It is a Italian side.The pasta was intensely flavored with seafood essence.It's interesting that they served this dish with a fork and knife so I ended up using my knife to cut through the mountain of pasta.Italian Restaurant Naples