Anteprima da la Terza (a first look at third)

This just in from the “life could be worse” department…

Above: Executive chef Gino Angelini and chef de cuisine Gianpiero Ceppaglia at La Terza on Third in West Hollywood.

David Schachter and I met up last night at La Terza, Gino Angelini’s restaurant on Third (hence the name) where Gino and his chef de cuisine Gianpiero Ceppaglia were debuting their new fall menu. We were also joined by LA chef-about-town Walter Manzke and wine industry veteran Enrico Nicoletta: needless to say, some great bottles were opened as we sampled the new repertoire.

Don’t try this at home. We paired David’s 2001 Raveneau Montée de Tonnerre with the spaghetti with lobster. Gino’s seafood is always fantastic, the long noodles were perfectly al dente, and the Raveneau was simply singing…. a great pairing…

Architectonic food has always fascinated me and the theme has pervaded my research in Italian Renaissance cuisine (see my translation of Maestro Martino): I loved this take on baked macaroni, “Vesuvius.”

Gianpiero and Gino matched this beautiful scallop with porcini mushrooms, an unusual pairing that worked swimmingly well. The crostino took it over the top.

David and I got into a fist fight as to whether or not fregola can be called Israeli couscous. I guess it’s the self-loathing Jews in us. The seafood medley with fregola was delicious nonetheless and paired well with a “simple red,” Mick Hucknall’s Etna Nerello Mascalese Il Cantante 2001. I liked the wine despite the dumb name.

Quail over polenta was tender and moist. Definitely a standout… Does it show that I’m a fan? Life could be worse…

5 Responses to Anteprima da la Terza (a first look at third)

  1. Simona says:

    Scallop with porcini mushrooms? I’d like some, please.

  2. vinonyc says:

    Mick Hucknall’s now making wine? It’s bad enough that he’s interista…

  3. Robina says:

    Angelini is hands-down the best Italian restaurant in Los Angeles, but it is a pain getting a reservation in that tiny room. It has been frustrating that his larger, easy-to-get-into restaurant, La Terza, has always been something of an underachiever. Sounds like La Terza is finally approaching the quality of it’s big brother. Bravo!!!

  4. tracie b says:

    am i gonna have to come to los angeles to have that kind of italian food?

  5. David S says:

    As your dinner companion that evening, I would agree with everything you wrote in your post. However, I would add a few things for your readers. Since La Terza restaurant opened several years ago, it has been plagued by an identity crisis. Is it Mediterranean food like Campanile restaurant or is it Italian? Is it a casual restaurant or is it a more formal dining experience? Gino Angelini has gone through several GMs and several chefs in search of the answers to those questions. Finally, as of a few weeks ago, those questions appear to have been answered. Gino has hired Gianpiero Ceppaglia as the new Chef de Cuisine under Gino himself, who continues to cook at both his restaurants. Gianpiero was previously the second chef under Gino for two and a half years at Angelini Osteria and prior to that he cooked at Don Alfonso in southern Italy (formerly Michellin 3-star restaurant). He is an extremely talented chef who, together with Gino, has completely revamped La Terza’s menu making it definitely Italian and the upscale (but still casual) brother to Angelini Osteria. As a fanatical lover of great Italian food, I believe that over the next six months to a year, La Terza will come to be regarded as one of the very best Italian restaurants in California.

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