Bon Vivant's written and pictorial diary of her culinary adventures that will amuse and excite your virtual taste buds...

Monday, February 26, 2007

Osteria La Buca

What an true Italian dinner is all about: good food, good company, and good times. Good times. Here is our table at the very popular and crowded Osteria La Buca on Melrose and Wilton. You can see Mr. Taste of Thai's arms in the background - his arms always get into the photos. On this night my genetics took over and I had an antipasto, a primi, a secondi, and dessert.

Situated in a tiny store front a few blocks from Paramount Studios, Osteria La Buca has been a hit since it first opened. They only have a handful of tables in the place, and about two years ago, or so it seems, they started an expansion into the place next door. From my viewpoint when I drive by, it looks as though they haven't made much progress. But I don't mind; I really like the intimate feel of the place and am afraid that it will lose a lot of it's charm when it becomes a normal sized restaurant (I used to work at Authentic Cafe when it was just the counter and those seven small tables right next to the kitchen, and I have to say the dynamics of the place changed for the worse when it expanded.)

Below, my antipasto with the highly coveted burratta cheese, prosciutto, salami, and arugula. The mellowness of the burratta works so well with the saltiness of the cured meats and the spiciness of the arugula.

My next course was tagliatelle with bolognese sauce. Sorry, mama (she was cooking that night) the sauce was good but not as good as my bolognese (although the texture of the homemade pasta was superb.)

My main course was the steak with gorgonzola sauce served over more arugula. Another triumpant flavor combination. Steak and blue veined cheeses go so well together as does the arugula with both of those items. How could this dish not be a success?

My dessert, a pear custard tart. The pears had been previously poached in a Barbaresco.

They just loved us there so mama came out of the kitchen, they pulled out the limoncello, we toasted to everyone's good health, and then they gave us a couple of more desserts on the house: tiramisu and a coffee panna cotta.

I have to say that this place has the yummiest looking pizza but I've never tried it. On my next outing there I will order it and report back to you.

Osteria La Buca
5210 1/2 Melrose Avenue
Hollywood, CA 90038

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Blogger Steve said...

I couldn't disagree more, though my opinion is hardly unanimous. Check out our take on Osteria.

8:27 PM

Blogger Raven said...

So hungry now, Bon V.

9:13 PM

Anonymous Sarah said...

My grandma used to live in a little house on Gower, directly across the street from Paramount Studios. We would visit every summer, but never got to go to cool restaurants like this.

I have great memories of this place, though, that I think was on the corner of Gower and whatever street it is that the main Paramount gates are. I think it was called Astroburger or something like that.

1:14 PM

Blogger Bon Vivant said...

Hi, Sarah! Indeed it is Astroburger on the corner of Gower and Melrose. I actually have a review of it on this blog (link on main page.)

Astroburger is still there but the Nickodel was closed and knocked down so that Paramount could build a parking lot.

5:46 PM

Anonymous Maxmillion said...

I think the pizza at La Buca is better than the pizza at Mozza -- I'm comparing the two versions of fennel sausage. La Buca has their perfect tomato sauce as its base vs mere 'panna' at Mozza and La Buca's fennel sausage is more memorable.

Still, both places do good pizza.

The best meal I've had at La Buca was the delightful homemade gnocchi. They were plump and pillowy, indented and perfectly hand-formed blobs of pure heaven.

I got them dressed with a sublime and silky ‘pink’ vodka sauce that was attractively speckled with finely cut parsley and not at all salty (hate that!)

At $16.75 it was a pricey but substantial dish, half of which served me well the next day for lunch when reheated in the microwave. When I asked for my ample leftovers to be bagged, I also asked our waiter to return the plate so I could lick it clean.

Ya know, I might have actually done that if he’d taken me seriously...

Thanks for your write up. Wonder when they'll open up the new section?

1:36 PM


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