By Sandy Zimmerman
(Photos by Sandy Zimmerman)
The Osteria (oh-stay-REE-ah) restaurant is smaller, less formal than a ristorante or trattoria. These Osteria-style restaurants were established in Italy in the 13th and 14th centuries.
Los Angeles restaurateur/ Master Chef Celestino Drago wanted a restaurant with a feeling of casual elegance.
His charming Osteria Drago, set in a colonial-style building, stands out on Sunset Boulevard. Their enclosed terrace is surrounded by flower baskets.
Kevin Lepisto, Osteria Drago Manager, explains, “Chef Celestino takes his knowledge of food from all over Italy and combines his own spin.
Our guests will taste a wide variety of flavors.”
When the server brought the large casserole filled with Mussels and Clams to the table, it attracted attention.
The mussels and clams were piled almost up to the top. They were open making it easy for the guest to remove the mussels and clams.
While cooking, the juice of the shellfish mixed with garlic, chili flakes, tomatoes and white wine.
It was slightly spicy but not overpowering. Chef Celestino believes in keeping everything well-balanced.
This is a classic Italian dish served with grilled bread to dip in the broth.
They call the Mussels and Clams a starter but it could be considered as a meal.
Each of their other starters has the Celestino touch.
Their antipasti platter offers an assortment of Parma prosciutto, salami, coppa and puffed bread. The Palma ham, imported from Palma, Italy, is served uncooked, thinly sliced prosciutto-style with coppa, a cut of pork shoulder.
One dish which could be considered either a starter or salad is the Burrata cheese with roasted baby beets, pistachios and a light white balsamic dressing
Burrata is a fresh Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream. The outer shell is solid mozzarella while the inside contains both mozzarella and cream.
The Carpaccio di Manzo platter includes thin slices of beef tenderloin steak with a parmesan cream sauce, shaved Parmesan cheese, capers and mustard dressing. They change the ingredients from beef to venison in the winter.
Tomato braised meatballs with rapini are not the usual meatballs. Rapini, also known as broccoletti or Broccolini, is a vegetable.
Instead of using only romaine lettuce in their Caesars salad, the combination of romaine lettuce, radicchio and endives provide a mix of flavors. You can choose the classic or this version of the salad.
Another interesting selection is the Caprese salad with Buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes and basil. Buffalo mozzarella is a mozzarella made from the milk of the domestic water buffalo.
Most of their produce is bought at the local farmers market.
For information, call (310)-657-1182. Osteria Drago is located at 8741 West Sunset Boulevard, in West Hollywood, California. www.osteriadrago.com
Sandy Zimmerman is a syndicated Show and Dining Reviewer, Travel Writer, Health journalist, professional photographer and talk show host of the Las Vegas Today Show and Discover the Ultimate Vacation travel specials. For information or questions about any of Sandy’s columns, contact Sandy Zimmerman at: (702)-735-5974