Thursday, October 27, 2011

Drago Ristorante

Sometimes a night out is not about getting all dolled up and going to the hottest ticket in town. A fun time can be had at an old standby. Around for over 20 years, Drago Ristorante in Santa Monica is not normally a restaurant I would consider when trying to find somewhere to go on a Tuesday night, but a few weeks ago, I was invited to check it out and was pleasantly surprised. I first encountered the Drago group's food at a wedding I attended last year. I was full from a previous meal, but I remember being impressed with the simple, but delicious pastas and meats. The sit down restaurant brought those memories back to mind and the meal did not disappoint.

We started with Arancini. They were perfectly fried on the outside and bursting with creamy risotto on the inside.


Next was the beet and burrata salad. The chef mixes pistachio butter into the dressing and surrounds the whole salad with candied pistachios. I loved the sweet and salty flavors and well as the various textures with creamy burrata and crunchy nuts.

Beet Salad

Ricotta with Figs and Almonds was just as tasty as it was pretty to look out. Our beautiful southern California figs are paired with housemade ricotta and crunchy almonds. A port sauce on the plate completes the dish. This easily could have been a simple dessert as well.

Ricotta with Figs, Honey, and Almonds ($12)

We were treated to a trio of pastas. From left to right, the corn agnolotti with summer truffles was definitely the highlight of this course. Of course the transition into fall foods is not complete without pumpkin and the pumpkin and sage tortellini delivered as did the squid ink risotto with chunks of various seafoods.

Corn Agnolotti with Summer Truffles, Pumpkin Tortellini, Squid Ink and Seafood Risotto

My main course was the arctic char with pesto, cherry tomatoes, fregola (similar to Israeli couscous), and fried tomato skins. As most of you know, I am a sucker for anything made with tomatoes so I was in heaven with the dish. I was fairly full after the starters, so I didn't each much of it, but the leftovers were just as good the next day.

Trota Salmonata - Arctic Char, pesto, cherry tomato, fregola, fried tomato skin ($24)

Just when I thought I couldn't fit another bite in, we were presented with a trio of desserts. Housemade gelatos, and a churro-like pastry. Could you ask for anything more?

Trio of Desserts at Drago Santa Monica

I had a great time dining at Drago and I can see how this place could become anyone's new (old) favorite.

One year ago: SugarFish - Downtown Los Angeles
Two years ago: Pistachio Macarons
Three years ago: Chicken and Waffles

Drago Santa Monica
2628 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90403
(310) 828-1585

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vanillasugarblog said...

Mmmm i can easily make that a favorite too.
compared to what we have here, nada.
let's have another look at the dessert shall we? LOL

Joanne said...

Wow. I actually would have been so pleased with every one of these dishes, which is not something you can often say with restaurant food!

susan said...

I love Drago, always have. Actually, his wife was my best friend growing up and she is still as sweet today as she was 35+ years ago!

lisa is cooking said...

Sounds fabulous! I love the idea of the ricotta, figs, and almonds as a dessert. What a great combination.