Experience Magazine had the pleasure of being invited to Drago Centro by Vincenzo Porcu, Manager Extraordinaire, to sample some dishes for Dine LA Restaurant Week 2016 . Drago is a wonderful restaurant that is also well known for its spacious bar run by three female bar tenders and caters to the bustling crowd of happy hour patrons from the financial district of Downtown Los Angeles.
Upon our arrival, Vincenzo greeted us with an offering of wine to enjoy while we contemplated the Dine LA menu. He recommended a 2011 Nebbiolo, a rich, bold, ruby red wine from Northern Italy. The wine had a delicate balance of smoke and soft fruit flavors and was easily drinkable on its own and even more enjoyable when partnered with food. It was immediately apparent that the wine list at Drago is one of the most extensive and eclectic in Los Angeles. With over 40 wines by the glass offered and a truly impressive bottle selection, this has become a priority destination for wine lovers from around the world. The clean and modern decor of the restaurant provides a comfortable environment to sip, relax and enjoy.
To begin, we sampled a squid ink paccherri pasta with shrimp, green onion and a sea urchin crème. It was visually exciting and daringly delicious. Next we were presented with the burrata, with shaved fennel, crostini, hazelnuts, endive and a truffle vinaigrette. The burrata was delicate and creamy, fabulously fresh and invited all of the accompanying flavors to mingle on the plate to enhance dish.
As a special treat, Vincenzo brought us a beautifully plated caesar salad. The salad was perfectly balanced with crisp romaine, caesar dressing, shaved parmesan and garlic crostini; a delightful version of the traditional Italian starter.
The sommelier, Mark Sadr, then joined us to make exquisite pairing suggestions with each course. His first recommendation was a 2008 Langhe Freisa Nebbiolo from Italy. This matched divinely with all three of the authentic, Italian starters. A truly inspired beginning to a dramatically delicious meal.
For our main course, we tasted two exquisite entrees. First we had the roasted scallops with sunchoke puree, rainbow carrots and tangy capper berries. The piquancy of the capper berries coupled with the rest of the dish made the flavors come alive. As anticipated, the star of the evening was the wild mushroom risotto with truffle butter, parmesan cheese and generously shaved truffles. A treat for the pickiest of palates and a testament to the high standards of the Chef de Cuisine, Ian Gresik.
The evening concluded with the “dolce” or dessert course consisting of three spectacular offerings. The first was a pasquini espresso, poured over a scoop of vanilla gelato. The deep, bitter flavors of the espresso matched with the sweet, softness of the vanilla gelato was a surprising delight. The chocolate and olive oil terrine with salted caramel gelato and sliced almonds was a visually appealing and mellifluously flavorful. The third was a simple and elegant cheese plate with candied nuts, dried fruit served with toasted ciabatta. Each of these paired nicely with the Ben Rye dessert wine poured by Master Sommelier, Mark Sadr.
For an authentic and consummately fabulous Italian meal, Drago Centro is a must experience restaurant for everyone. They can be found on Twitter at @DRAGOCENTRO