There are many divine restaurants in Culver City. On occasion, I come across a winner outside of our city limits. This one is just a few miles away and worth every penny.
What can you say about a place that breaks all barriers when it comes to food? That it’s great? That won’t suffice. In this era, unless a restaurant wrestles with your sensibilities, turning your palate inside out, it’s simply just another one of those great places that blends in with all the others.
After some incessant pleading from some of some of my friends, we embarked upon Il Moro with gastronomic gusto, prepared to be ushered into some of the finery of West LA. We entered with our taste buds ready for a full workout.
Elio Desanto, who has owned Il Moro for about 15 years, is riding the wave of culinary excellence, preferring not to cut corners and portions, but provide patrons with an over the top dining experience so that they’ll come back and back again. From the lush interior, to the featured exhibits of prominent artists on the walls, an inviting tone is set.
The timid can imbibe during their voluptuous Happy Hour (Mon.-Fri. from 5-7 p.m.), providing a generous sampling of wonderful appetizers free of charge. From what I could hear, the crowd was swelling, the cacophony of laughter and dialogue indicating a true appreciation of the samples available. Thanks to the finesse of head chef Davide Ghizzoni, this spectacle was only a bit of foreplay for the array of delights that awaited us.
A simple must is their Culatello e Cacio di Fossa, featuring the “king” of Italian cured meats served with pecorino “cacio di fossa”, a very strong and pungent cheese prominent in Italy. Adjacent to this was their spinach and parmesan cheese pie, along with “Gnocco”, very light puff fritters coupled with homemade lemon, mint, and quince jam. We mixed and matched these partners in every possible way. It was an adventure in dining decadence. Check out the abundance of wines that are available, or ask your server to make recommendations. One of our favorites was a chilled Lambrusco-perfect for summer.
Another surprise was their Asparagi con Fonduta de Gorgonzola, Lambrusco e Cerfoglio, featuring white asparagus, baked with gorgonzola cheese and chervil in a lambrusco sauce. What a medley of flavors!
Soup followed, a Cappelletti, which was a fresh pasta filled with braised beef, and simmered in a succulent chicken broth. I was getting full by this time, so parked most of it to save myself for the seafood which followed.
Save room for the Maccheroni al nero di seppia, a black squid ink pasta with sea scallops, wild shrimps and vegetables, in a sundry tomato saffron sauce. This was the winner in my book, the colors alone providing a full rainbow of hues.
We finally got to dessert, and paid homage to another out of the ballpark creation, a lovely gelato-like cylinder with olive oil drizzled on top. Pairing unlikely siblings like these may seem a bit unusual, but believe me, it’s worth every morsel.
Business is booming at Il Moro. Check out the patio scene, where they often have live music, or simply book your private party and get ready for some serious dining.
11400 West Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90064
(Entrance & Valet Parking On Purdue Ave.)
Phone: 310 575 3530
Fax: 310 473 3223