You know the place — the neighborhood Italian red-sauce-and-mozzarella restaurant. That was Vitello’s in Studio City. Dating back to the 1960s, Vitello’s was a Rat Pack hangout. But it became infamous in 2001 when Bonnie Lee Bakely, wife of actor Robert Blake, was shot dead while sitting in her car after eating at Vitello’s. The couple were regulars at the restaurant, and Blake said he found his wife dead in the car after walking back to the restaurant to retrieve a gun he left in his usual booth.
Now far removed from the Bakely murder, Vitello’s is under new ownership and management, with a brand-new look and sophisticated menu to boot. New Executive Chef Tonino Cardia, who is originally from Sicily, has created some great dishes, including the Trofie alla Sausage made with small twists of pasta, Italian sausage, broccoli, diced grape tomato and white wine, and the Filetto di Branzino with an almond crusted Mediterranean sea bass, zucchini and Sicilian pesto.
Cardia gets creative with his dishes, too. He serves salmon tartare with raspberries and tops grilled rack of lamb with lavender. Sounds bizarre, but it all totally works.
Mixologist Josh Curtis has come up some really interesting drinks, too, including The Figueroa with vodka, club soda, muddled fig and olive oil, and the Unusual Sazerac with rye, Aperol and a sambuca rinse. Creativity abounds at Vitello’s.
Since the menu now changes seasonally, you’re sure to find some interesting fall dishes. The Beer Braised Osso Bucco with pumpkin risotto and chestnuts sounds especially satisfying — once the weather cools down, of course.
See more photos from Vitello’s:
Note: This meal was hosted.