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Enjoy lighter side of tasty Italian cuisine
Lori Corbin Monday, February 08, 2010 for KABC TV Los Angeles. Article and video
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Ask most anyone their favorite Italian food, they're going to tell you pizza, but most likely it's thick-crust double-stuffed meat lovers special. While Americans take the "more is more" attitude, true Italian food does not.
"I tried to bring to America the Italian rules, like following the grandmother, the family recipes," said Antonio Mure, chef of Ado in Venice.
At Ado, owner Paolo Cesaro and Mure serve meals like they do in the old country. They make pasta, but in petite portions that accompany colorful produce and lean protein like baked sea bass they call Branzino.
"We just put a little bit of lemon and parsley, olive oil, salt and pepper logically, and we wrap with aluminum foil," Mure said.
This tasty fish is oven-baked and served with a spring favorite - artichoke salad from northern Italy.
Mure slices raw artichoke very thin, then mixes in a little bit of lemon, olive oil, celery, fresh arugula and Parmesan cheese.
The combination provides a nice dose of minerals, heart-healthy fat and solid protein to keep you satisfied.
When it comes to making pasta sauce, a starter called a sofrito is made. Mure said it just takes a little bit of carrots, onions and celery.
The vegetable treasure is added to red wine, bay leaf and choice ingredients that determine if they become bolognaise, ragu and other tasty sauces, like one of Ado's specialties - beet pasta with chicken or quail.
"The quail, it's very nice. It's lean, low in fat," Mure said.
It might be a bit labor intensive for home chefs, but Mure makes it look easy, and it's well worth the effort taste-wise.
"This is our tasting portion. It's like an ounce-and-a-half, two ounces of pasta," Mure said.
"We really try to stay close with the Italian experience," Cesaro said.
As they say in Italy, "Enjoy and buon appetito."
Much Ado about Something
Forgo expensive plane fares and head to the beach for a truly authentic Italian meal.
VENICEâS NEWEST Italian restaurant, Ado, is located in a quaint canary-yellow house set on an otherwise nondescript stretch of Main Street. And that is the only thing nondescript about Ado. Owner Paolo Cesaro greets you on the first level of the converted house, with its open kitchen and one lone table set by a window. The rest of the tablesâ13 in allâare located up a wooden staircase. âWe wanted to create a place that felt like home when you walk in,â says Cesaro, who co-owns the restaurantânamed for his grand- fatherâwith fellow Italian Antonio MurĂš.
After the necessary double kisses and buona seras, you are seated at one of the tablesâwhich, not surprisingly considering the inti- mate spaceâare all placed very close together. Naturally, itâs an Italian waiter who takes your order from the authentic Venetian- style menu (Cesaro says the food is âfrom Rome upâ), whose offerings range from the simple but delectable appetizer of pro- sciutto di Parma and burrata to truly exceptional pasta dishes, such as homemade tagliatelle with fired zucchini and tomatoes on a bed of walnut pesto and homemade pappardelle with rabbit ragu, por- cini mushrooms and dried prunes.
EntrĂ©es such as grilled wild-boar tenderloin with a white Port- and-raspberry sauce and grilled veal chop with melted burrata in a Marsala wine demi-glace round out the menu, which will change every few months. The entire experience of dining at Ado is one you wonât soon forget and will undoubtedly want to repeat immediately.
Ado and the Leap of Faith
posted by Rob Eshman, The Jewish Journal, August 28, 2009 | 10:59 pm
Every time you enter a restaurant, you take a leap of faith. Last night, at Ado in Venice, I took a huge frickinâ jump.
Right over S. Irene Virbilaâs head.
Ado is a new Italian place, located in a yellow, two-story bungalow just where Main Street curves into Abbot Kinney. Iâve passed it sereval times since it opened a few weeks go, then Googled it to find itâs the newest venture of Chef Antonio Mure, who opened Piccolo, Locana Veneta and Il Botte. Iâd eaten his food at all those places and never had a bad meal, and comments on Yelp confirmed that he was doing a good job at Ado as well.
So, when my wife asked me to make a reservation somewhere special for my mother-in-lawâs 87th birthday party, I called. âHow many people in your party?â
â24,â I said.
We had relatives in from out of town, from Israel, from Toronto and San Francisco and Boston and New York. The tribe was gathering around the matriarch for a feast, and I was pretty damn proud of myself. Iâd scored a big reservation at a new Italian place in a funky, oh-so-Venice location with a tried and true chef.
This was Wednesday. I gave my credit card, and confirmed the reservation for a Thursday night dinner.
About an hour later my dad called. âDid you see the review in the LA Times?â he said. âThey hated Ado.â
I went online.
This was the headline: âChef-owner Antonio MurĂ© has impressed elsewhere, but the indifferent service and a pricey and scattershot menu outweigh the handful of dishes that work.â
It gets worse.
The Timesâ restaurant reviewer, S. Irene Virbila, goes on to accuse Mure of gouging customers by pushing high-priced bottled water on them, misleading them about the price of a pasta and black truffles. She calls the wine list overpriced, the food heavy and fussy for the season, and the service rushed.
Coup de grace? When Mureâs partner Paolo attempts to kiss her good night, she recoils.
âI donât know the guy, and Iâm not playing,â she writes. â[Paolo] steps back and says, shrugging, âI am Italian.ââ
Virbila calls the Paolo-tried-to-kiss-me attempt âpatently insincere.â
(Okay, I have to wonder: did she expect flowers and chocolate first? Has she ever given anyone an air kiss without expecting to go home with them? Has she been to Italy? To Argentina? To Hollywood? Itâs not love, itâs a handshake with your lips).
I put my computer to sleep and panicked. They had my credit card, I had the solemn responsibility to not screw up a dinner for 24 loved ones.
And the calls kept coming. âWhere did you say weâre going? Did you read that review?â
It was suggested that we skip Ado and gather for pizza and beer somewhere.
Here is where I needed my faith to start leaping.
A restaurant, after all, is one more place where faith and food intersect. You walk into any restaurant, you never know. The kitchen is hidden. Even a so-called open kitchen is anything butâit reveals nothing of the hours of prep, of how the ingredients were stored, of who did what to your fish from the boat to the dock to that morning.
You are eating food that has passed through many human hands to get to your mouth, and you are trusting those hands with your life. Itâs an intimate act, feeding. Nature insists that when we are first born and most vulnerable, only our birth mother can be entrusted with our food. In nature, once the mother stops feeding the animal, the animal feeds itself. But we humans, as we grow older, we let complete strangers feed us, we pay them to do it, trusting they will look out for us no less than our moms once did. A sloppy uncaring cook can at worst literally kill us. Or, if Irene Virbila was correct, at least ruin our night.
Would Antonio Mure ruin my night? I decided to stop by and ask him.
It was 11 am on the day of the dinner. When I walked in a stocky young Italian man with a mane of dark hair was at the espresso machine.
âHi,â I said.
He turned to me. Was this the insincere Italian himself? I wasnât going to fall for it. Irene had warned me. His very kisses reek of deception. Mascalzone! Iâm not falling for it. Iâm not falling for it.
âWould you like a coffee?â
âUm, sure.â Okay, I fell for it.
He didnât even know who I was, he just saw a anxious stranger walk through his door while he was making himself a coffeeâand offered one to his guest. This was Antonio, the chef. I told him I had made the reservation for 24 that evening. We walked upstairs and checked out the space. It was charmingâexposed beams, wood floors, windows looking down on Main Street open to the ocean breeze. But I didnât come to see the room. I came to ask about that lousy review.
But I didnât bring it up at first. I had a couple Jeroboams of Puglian wine I wanted to celebrate with, and The Times review had led me to believe this man would gouge me for it. âI look in vain for a mid-priced Chianti Classico or Ruffino,â Virbila writes, âa lusty Barbera or even an Orvieto Iâd like to drink. But this list has only a handful of wines under $50. The one Chianti I find is a 2003 Capannelle Riserva at $83. Pass.â
I turn to Mure. âWhat is your corkage for large bottles?â
Totally fair. Now I get to the point. âWhat about that review in the Times?â
He shrugged. âI donât understand. People like it here.â
He didnât seem hurt, or defensive, or even angry. He added, âShe must not have liked it.â
So that was how he saw it: one dinerâs opinion. You canât thrill everyone. So what if she reviews for the largest newspaper in LA? She didnât like it.
Antonio moved on to the next topic. âYour espresso.â
It was sitting on a small table by the front doorâa demitasse filled with creamy espresso, placed on a saucer, along with two sugar cubes and a tiny spoon. I drank itâperfect.
| âThank you,â I said.
I took one final look around the place, and then I saw it: the review. He had cut out Virbilaâs scathing reviewâshe gave him a half star out of fourâand taped it to his front door. I was stunned. It was like cigarette companies putting the warning label on the front of the package. Could it be he didnât read English? Or was it a macho thingâyou think youâre tough, here, hit me, so what? Or could it be his way of saying he had nothing to hide, nothing to be ashamed of?
Whatever it was, I liked it. I was coming back that night with 23 relatives.
The leap began at 6:30. We gathered car by car. At the door Paolo said hello and welcomeâINSINCERE! How dare he smile and welcome people he doesnât know to his restaurant.
He acted delighted at the giant wine bottles I had brought. âYou have to taste it,â I said.
âOf course,â he said. âI better.â
The waiters were attentive. It was a warm night, and we drank some of that Italian sparkling water Virbila found to be such a rip off. But is it? We could have ordered tap waterâshe could have too. Thereâs no law that says a restaurant has to sell bottled water cheap. Or is that now in some Dinerâs Ten CommandmentsâThou Shalt Break Even on Bottled Water? Adoâs food, Iâd see, was labor intensive and high qualityâif water was where they wanted to make a little profit, so be it.
The appetizers I tasted were great. Remember, there were 24 of us, so Iâm going to assume I got to taste, smell and see more of Mureâs dishes than Virbila did in her visit (or was it visits? She never says how many times she dined there before judging it an insincere rip offâan omission that borders on the unjust).
Crudo dâorata â a sea bream carpaccio with red onion, capers, olive oil, lemon and some heatâ was the standout. But there was rich tuna tartar set off by blood orange, a watercress salad with hearts of palm and the dayâs special, asparagus soup with quail egg and shaved black truffles. All delicious on a warm Venice night.
By then everyone had drunken a couple of glasses, enjoyed their appetizers, and munched through the baskets of freshly-baked foccacia. We were a big happy noisy family. My sister-in-law gave a toast and my mother-in-law sighed with joy. I relaxed. The main courses would have to be shoe leather and shaving cream to turn the tide against this place.
âI feel like Iâm in Italy,â a relative who has been there several times said. I knew the feeling: of being taken care of, of being cooked for by somebody who cared as much or more about what was on your plate as you did. Someone who understood that it was faith that brought you to him, and it was his duty to restore that faithâisnât ârestoreâ at the root of the word restaurant, after all?
The next courses were uniformly very good. Little gnocchi with diced tomatoes, arugula, and almonds. A snapper filet grilled and napped with a light blood orange, tagliatelle sautĂ©ed with fried zucchini, teardrop tomatoes, walnut pesto. The aroma from my motherâs pastaâhomemade beet pasta with quail ragu on a pool of molten taleggio cheeseâjust the smell of it aloneâwas enough to challenge my faith not in Ado, but in the LA Times. Ms. Virbila, if you tried that dish and did not like it, your next sparkling water is on me.
We ate late into the night. We split some panna cotta and ricotta cheesecakes for dessert, and some cups of espresso. We sang âHappy Birthdayâ to my mother-in-law, and it was good.
Paolo was at the bottom of the stairs as we filed out.
âCiao bello,â he said to me. âHow was everything?â
I hugged him, sincerely.
by Linda Civitello (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Re: S. Irene Virbila's review of Ado restaurant, August 26, 2009, Los Angeles Times
S. Irene ("I never met a steak I didn't like") Virbila's idea of hell would involve being strapped to a chair, fed Italian food, and forced to watch Big Night. On the west side. She despises Los Angeles west side Italian restaurants and much Italian food. She bitterly admitted as much in her July 22, 2009 column: "Brentwood is rife with Italian restaurants opened by Italian waiters who used to work somewhere else. . . . Everybody loves pasta." Not Virbila. In that same column, she says, "I'm less fond of the pastas with meat sauces, which tend to be on the heavy side . . ." But Virbila often contradicts herself when the same foods show up in east side or non-Italian restaurants.
In her astoundingly inaccurate review of Ado (8/26/09), Virbila insults Italians in general and Italian cuisine in particular, and even restaurants and chefs that have nothing to do with Ado. Evidently, all Italians look alike and cook alike to her. How else to account for her confusing Melograno, with a chef from Piedmont, with Il Carpaccio and Antonio MurĂ©, its chef-owner from Sicily? Although Virbila says, "Now this is the MurĂ© I remember," she neither remembers MurĂ© nor did she have the professional discipline or common courtesy to Google him. She would have found her own 1-1/2 star review of his restaurant Il Carpaccio, written a little more than a year and a half ago (November 21, 2007).
Virbila was in full arrabbiata mode even before she arrived at Ado. Just the thought of going to the restaurant enraged her: "And why name it Ado? It's easily confused with Ago: too close to Ago for comfort." One would not expect three-letter words to send a professional writer into meltdown. But these are Italian three-letter words. If Virbila cannot distinguish between Ado in Venice and Agostino in WeHo, why should Times readers believe anything she says? Zero cred. Better to look online at Zagat, Chowhound, Yelp, Daily Candy, etc. Virbila had no problem mentioning the origins of restaurant names calmly in reviews of other restaurants. Why such rudeness and lack of professionalism here? Ado (pronounced AH-dough) is named after co-owner Paolo Cesaro's beloved grandfather who was a chef in Venice, Italy, and who died seven years ago of Parkinson's disease. Cesaro promised his grandfather that he would honor his memory by naming a restaurant after him some day. This restaurant in Venice, California, is the fulfillment of that promise.
Unfortunately, no bells went off in Virbila's head â still struggling with that "d" and "g" issue, no doubt â when she described MurĂ©'s carpaccio as an outstanding dish. Yes, as in Il Carpaccio. Linguistic difficulties overwhelm Virbila again with her description of MurĂ©'s housemade quail prosciutto: "just a bit twee, don't you think?" What I think is that an editor should have hustled that line off to the WTF department. Why slam this dish yet congratulate another chef-owner's "commitment to make his own charcuterie"? Because that chef is French (Le Saint Amour, 8/19/09).
At Domenico in Silverlake (7/22/09) Virbila paid tribute to Italian black truffles: "The menu describes it as black truffle, but it's not the same as the French black truffle, not nearly as expensive or seductive, but plenty good on its own." A month later, she does a 180 and shrieks when she has the same Italian black truffles at Ado. She claims that they are "lacking much scent or flavor" because they are not "real" truffles from PĂ©rigord. Aside from the fact that Virbila hates west side Italian food, why is she looking for French food in an Italian restaurant? Here's a tip, Irene: Italians eat Italian food. Later, she grudgingly admits that the extremely generous truffle portion at Ado "is subtle, very nice, actually." When Virbila ate at Il Carpaccio in 2007, she got rare white truffles. She hated them, too. The west side seems to be some kind of personal Truffle Twilight Zone for Virbila.
Evidently, there is also a gravity problem for Virbila on the westside â everything is heavier for her at Italian restaurants there. She claims that Ado's veal chop with melted cheese is not proper summer fare. Is her prohibition against eating meat and cheese together a new culinary rule, like "Don't eat cheeseburgers in months with a âu'"? She contradicts herself again, because for her, back east in Silverlake a "light summer main course" consists of "braised rabbit in a black olive sauce over a bed of polenta." She also liked lamb chops with lentils â a double protein â in Silverlake. A "blanket of molten cheese" is wonderful in summer â if it's French, on top of soupeĂ l'oignon [sic] at Le Saint Amour. So is â again double protein â the lamb shank with white beans. Also on Virbila's list of summer faves is duck confit with oyster mushroom fricassee. But Ado's traditional spinach-ricotta pasta in Bolognese sauce is "overkill."
Virbila dismisses the desserts at Ado, which change frequently and include a semifreddo, panna cotta, a trio of chocolate mousses, ricotta cheesecake, and a pistachio pudding, as "mostly standards." She is much more friendly to simpler desserts at other restaurants. At Saint Amour: "The simple, well-prepared desserts are mostly childhood favorites." At Tavern (2-1/2 stars, 7/29/09) she says that desserts like fruit crumble "head for the comfort zone," and calls walnut tart "unusual." Domenico, which appealed to Virbila for its innovation, serves "tiramisu (less creamy than most)."
What exactly are Virbila's criteria? In her review of Tavern â west side but not Italian â Virbila advises readers to stick to starters and desserts because it is in the main courses that "the menu tends to falter"; they are "a bit clumsy." At Ado, Virbila said that the main courses were "well-executed" and liked the lamb and also the filet mignon in pink peppercorn sauce, describing the latter as the best item on the menu. Earlier, she described Ado's crudo d'orata fish starter as the best item on the menu. At Tavern, Virbila got multiple soupy entrees but was gracious about it. At Ado, she got one soupy appetizer and it was apocalyptic. At Tavern, Virbila said, "Every fish [entree] I've ordered has been overcooked." Yet she gave Tavern a rating two stars higher than Ado.
She likes Pacific Dining Car in Santa Monica â although it is a "Westside outpost" â because they make "even a newcomer feel like a regular." (5/3/2006) But Italian warmth is offensive? She likes PDC's "reassuring wedge of iceberg lettuce," then goes all daring on us and decides to "break form" by getting onion rings as an appetizer instead of a side. Gasp! More than three years ago at PDC, Virbila called $43.95 for a cowboy steak "reasonable" and a California Syrah for under $200 "quite a good price," but she balks at the much lower prices at Ado for imported Italian wines.
Virbila's criteria are clear.
The Times is doing a disservice to its readers, to itself, and to S. Irene Virbila by forcing her to review Italian restaurants on the west side. In the interests of fairness, accuracy, good journalism, and as a public service, the Times should send someone else to review them. Ado - Ago, Melograno - Il Carpaccio. All those vowels, that meat sauce, those gorgeous dark men make her angry.
It's the misrepresentation that angers me.
Linda Civitello, Italian-American
(Disclosure: I have not eaten at any of these restaurants, except once at Il Carpaccio. I am merely quoting Virbila.)
The Review: Ado in Venice
by Irene Virbila, The Los Angeles Times, August 26, 2009
Chef-owner Antonio MurĂ© has impressed elsewhere, but the indifferent service and a pricey and scattershot menu outweigh the handful of dishes that work.
When I pull up to Ado, the new Italian restaurant that's moved into the old Amuse space on Main Street in Venice, chef-owner Antonio MurĂ© is standing in his whites in the doorway, his dark hair pulled into a ponytail, so chic he looks as if he's waiting for Vogue photographer Steven Meisel to show up any minute.
FOR THE RECORD: Ado review: In Wednesday's Food section, a review of Ado, an Italian restaurant in Venice, said that chef-owner Antonio Mure had cooked at "Locanda Veneta, Piccolo and his own Melograno." He neither owned nor cooked at Melograno; in addition to Locanda Veneta and Piccolo, Mure had been involved with La Botte in Santa Monica and the now-closed Il Carpaccio in Pacific Palisades. â
The place is adorable, a yellow two-story building that was built in 1908 and was once used to house railroad workers -- before it became the coffeehouse Van Gogh's Ear and later Brooke Williamson's short-lived Amuse cafe.
MurĂ© has put in time behind the stoves at Locanda Veneta, Piccolo and his own Melograno, which closed earlier this year. His partner is Paolo Cesaro of Via Veneto and the recently shuttered Hidden, both in Santa Monica.
Compared with Melograno's focus on the chef's native Piedmont, Ado's menu seems scattershot, a mix of conventional L.A. Italian dishes and others dressed up with fancy ingredients to appeal to somebody's idea of luxe. It's as if he decided authentic and regional don't work, scratch those and go with what he thinks plays in L.A. -- big portions, luxury ingredients, fancy plating.
And why name it Ado? It's easily confused with Ago: too close to Ago for comfort. In fact, I had to head off a couple of guests who were heading to Agostino Sciandri's well-known West Hollywood spot.
The space is a natural for a trattoria serving rustic authentic fare. But MurĂ© and Cesaro have other ideas.
I love walking past the chef's table downstairs with a view of the kitchen, up the narrow wooden stairs to the upstairs dining room with its bare wood beams and soft brown walls. The windows are open to the breeze, and there's a tiny terrace outside with a few tables fit close together. It feels very bohemian and enchanting. And incredibly loud as the partying crowd gets deeper into their wine.
Menus are handed out. "Water -- sparkling or still?" The wine list. I look in vain for a mid-priced Chianti Classico or Ruffino, a lusty Barbera or even an Orvieto I'd like to drink. But this list has only a handful of wines under $50. The one Chianti I find is a 2003 Capannelle Riserva at $83. Pass. If you want to spend more, a lot more, you can drink Tignanello, Solaia or Sassacaia, all priced above $300. And wines by the glass? Dull, dull, dull. Finally, I settle on a bottle of Speri Valpolicella Ripasso for $46. Meanwhile, a second bottle of water has been opened (without anyone asking) and poured and we're already down $14 for water before we've even taken a bite.
High hopes dashed
I've enjoyed MurĂ©'s cooking at Piccolo and at Melograno, so I'm looking forward to this meal. At Ado, though, he seems to be off his game. Some dishes are fine, oddly enough, more appetizers and main courses than pastas. And some of his more elaborate ideas seem woefully wrongheaded.
The best dish in the house? Crudo d'orata -- thinly sliced raw sea bream garnished with red onion, capers, olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. The fish is very fresh, the taste bright and citrusy. Passed around the table, the crudo disappears in a flash.
Instead of the standard beef carpaccio, MurĂ© sometimes makes his with buffalo. It's a beautiful rosette of overlapping slices of raw beef with a thatch of baby arugula in the center and a drizzle of mustard. Quail prosciutto is made in house, slices of the tiny cured breast with a swirl of Gorgonzola sauce. It has a mild, gamy flavor, but, really quail prosciutto is just a bit twee, don't you think?
And things go downhill from there. I'm intrigued by the grilled cuttlefish with fava beans, but what arrives is a tall bowl of purĂ©ed fava -- in other words soup -- garnished with a piece of cuttlefish. Who could eat this much bland fava purĂ©e? And the poor cuttlefish is drowned. Warm baby artichoke and crab salad is just awful. Turned out of a cylindrical mold, it has the texture of wet sawdust. The crab is tired, the whole thing salty.
Waiters seem intent on turning the tables, interrupting your conversation to relate the specials, refill water and take your order.
Now here comes the shell game: The server tells you about the special, tagliatelle with black truffles, neglecting to mention the price. Or that these are not the famed black truffles gourmandes go crazy over. They are the much, much less expensive summer truffles from Italy. Lacking much scent or flavor, they bear little resemblance to the dreamy black PĂ©rigord truffle, which is what is usually meant by "black truffle."
Making matters worse, the waiter tells us that at $35, these are "very inexpensive considering that they say white truffles from Alba are going to be $3,000 a pound this fall." Irrelevant! These truffles have nothing to do with white truffles! Since this deliberate truffle confusion has been going since MurĂ©'s Piccolo days, I can only assume there are lots of gullible eaters out there eager enough for the truffle experience that they go for it.
All that said, I order the tagliatelle for science. Table-side, Cesaro shaves enough truffles over my pasta that it looks like the noodles are covered in oak leaves. The taste is subtle, very nice, actually, but not in any way comparable to the best truffles. It's the misrepresentation that angers me.
The same chewy noodles make a terrific summer pasta dish tossed with fried zucchini, teardrop tomatoes and olive oil with a slick of walnut pesto underneath. Now this is the MurĂ© I remember.
On the heavy side
But then we have strozzapreti -- "priest stranglers," in this case, ricotta and spinach dumplings paired with a meaty Bolognese sauce. Brown butter and sage would be better; this is just overkill. Ravioli stuffed with foie gras, cabbage and foie gras veer over the top too. In addition to being more suitable for cold weather.
The menu barely acknowledges the season. On a summer night, who is going to want to eat wild boar? Especially in a white Port and raspberry sauce. Or a veal chop with cheese melted over the top?
Except for that boar, the roster of main courses is fairly predictable but on the whole well-executed. Lamb chops come out medium-rare as ordered, and the filet mignon, arguably the most boring-sounding item on the menu, is actually the best -- a fine piece of beef with good flavor, in a decent pink peppercorn sauce.
Desserts change often but are mostly standards such as panna cotta with berry sauce or a trio of chocolate mousses. A crema or pudding unmolded with pistachios on top is too stiff and floury. Go with the simple semifreddo, or "half-frozen," which is something like a frozen soufflĂ© made with almond-laced torrone. It's cold and not too sweet, refreshing after all this heavy food.
On our way out the first night, Cesaro tries to give me the ritual -- and patently insincere -- kiss kiss ciao ciao. I don't know the guy, and I'm not playing. He steps back and says, shrugging, "I am Italian." I'm reminded of the hilarious old "Saturday Night Live" skit in which Kirstie Alley fends off a posse of overzealous Italian waiters. A word of advice: Ado maybe should concentrate more on the kitchen and more intuitive service and leave the kissing to the cuddly couple at the corner table.
email@example.com Copyright Â© 2009, The Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Magazine August 2009
The little yellow house that was once Amuse is now home to chef Antonio MurĂ© (formerly of Piccolo and Il Carpaccio). If youâve ever wanted a boisterous Italian family dinner, here you go. Waiters carry trays of pasta up and down the staircase that separates the kitchen from the cozy (understatement) dining room, shouting to one another in Italian. Firm baby artichokes mixed with lump crabmeat make for a massive starter. The house-cured quail prosciutto is a worthy challenger to pork. Tagliolini with zucchini and walnut pesto is on the raw side of al dente, but we don't mind. Nor do we the burrata melted atop our veal chop. MurĂ©âs not doing anything new here, but thatâs fine by us.
The Dish: Ado Quietly Opens in Venice
Eater L.A. Friday, June 5, 2009, by Kat Odell
There bizarrely hasn't been much buzz on the newly opened venture between Paolo Cesaro (Hidden, Via Veneto) and Partner/Chef Antonio Mure's (Piccolo, La Botte, Locanda Veneta) newest rustic Italian abode, Ado.
Located in Venice near the corner of Main and Abbott Kinney, the duo took over the former Amuse space and, about three weeks ago, turned it into a small quaint and homey eatery sure to be jam-packed once the masses find it. Guests enter through a kitchen-esque area, then mount stairs to level two where most dining takes place. Earthy brown walls, exposed wooden beams, and simple wooden chairs lend an air of casual and understated sophistication that is the expected child of a Piccolo-Via Veneto union.
The menu embodies the space in taste; a rustic fine dining hybrid with dishes like beet tagliolini in marsala quail ragu, and wild boar tenderloin with a white port-raspberry sauce, and they just acquired their liquor license three days ago.
I Said No, No, Nonno
Ado Italian Restaurant Opens
Daily Candy Los Angeles May 8, 2009
Boys will be boys, alright.
But none with quite the passione (or the stugots) as Italians.
See for yourself at Ado, the new Italian joint in Venice thatâs entirely a male affair.
Named for the patriarch of co-owner Paolo Cesaroâs (Hidden, Via Veneto) family, the century-old lemon yellow house seats just 35. Cesaro works the intimate dining room upstairs, while partner/chef Antonio Mure (Piccolo, Locanda Veneta) is the one-man show below.
Everythingâs made in-house, from the warm artichoke salad with Dungeness crab and grape reduction to Choke the Priest (ricotta and spinach gnocchi with Bolognese) to a trio of mousses youâll go nuts for. A liquor license is on the way; air-kisses and ciao bellas are on the house.
Except for large parties (which, if theyâre lucky, can eat family style by the kitchen), the ragazzi arenât taking reservations.
Thatâll keep them on the ball.