Larchmont Village isn’t a Los Angeles neighborhood that I frequent. It’s small and never really held a big draw for me, despite its cute, small-town feel. But now I know about Vernetti restaurant (and having Portland-based ice cream shop Salt & Straw nearby isn’t too shabby, either).
Chef Steve Vernetti and his wife, Joanna, took over the old Girasole space on Larchmont Boulevard a couple of years ago before reopening as Vernetti earlier this year. They’ve done their best to keep a neighborhood feel at the Italian restaurant while making some upgrades, including some gorgeous brass light fixtures and a better restroom situation (customers used to have to walk through the kitchen to use the toilet!).
When it comes to the food, start with some crostini — the deviled egg version with white anchovy is my favorite — and a salumi platter featuring prosciutto, porchetta, bresaola, spicy calabrese salami and house-made giardiniera pickled vegetables.
Then move on to pasta. The preparations are straightforward and satisfying: pappardelle con funghi (sautéed wild mushrooms, cream, parmigiano), rigatoni spuntature (braised short rib ragu, marrow, crispy greens, roasted tomatoes, breadcrumbs) and linguine alla vongole (manila clams, white wine, garlic, crushed red pepper).
The one savory dish I really didn’t take to was the seared yam and sage polenta cake, which is offered as a side dish. I didn’t understand how it was supposed to complement the other food, and it was kind of boring on its own.
But the desserts made me smile. Panna cotta with strawberry compote, cannoli and tiramisu. All classic and well-executed.
So next time you’re driving through Mid-City, consider stopping at Vernetti restaurant. You’ll get a satisfying meal of classic Italian dishes.
Note: This meal was hosted.