Menu Degustazione at Drago Centro
It’s not a surprise I love Drago Centro but in the many times I’ve been there, I’ve never done the tasting menu. Oh sure, I’ve had many wonderful meals including this special one in the Vault a few months ago and probably have ordered enough to create 10 custom tasting menus but I wanted to experience the actual tasting menu. I have always thought it seemed like a great deal- 6 courses for $70 and an optional wine pairing for an additional $45.
We began our evening with a cocktail at the bar. While I love all of Drago Centro’s new cocktails, I am a restless cocktailian, always seeking something new. Sommelier and Beverage Director Michael Shearin was behind the stick this evening, filling in for a bartender. He made me a whiskey with lemon bitters which I really enjoyed. My next cocktail (pictured above) was also in the same vein (Buffalo Trace, Cio Ciaro, bitters).
Chef de Cuisine Ian Gresik was on vacation but the kitchen still churned out beautiful and delicious dishes. We started with an amuse of beet salad.
The first course, l’insalata, came with beautiful prosciutto, bocconcini mozzarella and compressed melon.The salad also had the cutest itty bitty bread. They looked like an even smaller version of buns used for the gnoccho fritto farcito (lil sandwiches as I call ’em). I ate it all except for the honeydew as I’m allergic to it. Even then I ate a piece because everything was so balanced and lovely.
Seafood dishes are some of my favorites at Drago Centro. The branzino (white sea bass) came with a fantastic broth with mussels, clambs and baby vegetables. It was a really good sized portion of fish. Is it possible to already start to feel full? We still had four more courses ahead of us!
The dish everyone was raving about was the “snails and shells” or i conchiglioni. The giant pasta shells and snails mingled in a rich garlic and brown butter sauce. It was really decadent and I unashamedly dipped a couple of pieces of bread through that sauce. The snails were so tender.
While some claim bacon is the king pork product, I would have to say you can’t have bacon without pork belly. The two bites came with gnocchi, fennel and a summery tomato cream sauce. I thought getting a glass of wine with this dish but was still working through my whiskey.
Drago Centro always has beautiful lamb. I am obsessed with chick pea fritters. Drago Centro’s panelle was a nicely-sized portion to go with the chops. I also loved the cipollini onions and romesco sauce for the lamb. My friend was so full, she ended up packing this dish to go.
We ended our evening with a high note of sweets. Tiramisu seems like a blast from the past but this version was light and very enjoyable.
Drago Centro, you know I will always love you.
525 S Flower St
Los Angeles, CA 90071