Cecconi's Offers a Scene With Substance

[caption id=“” align=“aligncenter” width=“500”] Pancetta-wrapped Roasted Scallops with Rosemary[/caption] There are a few places to eat and drink in town that I might be guilty of¬†having¬†prejudged based upon what I know about their location and reputation. I’m not saying that¬†restaurants that are celebrity favorites couldn’t possibly serve good food. But let’s be honest,¬†we’re afraid of¬†risking bad service at a “hotspot” as¬†non-celebrities. The food’s probably more expensive. And lest we be mistaken for¬†those scenesters who seek validation via famous elbow-rubbing… *shudder* [caption id=“” align=“alignright” width=“240”] Wood Roast Bone Marrow, “Agrodolce”[/caption] (Can anyone tell me if The Ivy actually serves good food and provides¬†prompt service¬†in a¬†manner¬†on par with the concluding check? And how is that service - and how famous was your “up-and-coming waiter” -¬†at Gjelina?) In a former life,¬†Cecconi’s was still Morton’s and the site of Elton John’s post-Oscar party, wherein my college¬†girlfriends and I¬†cruised by just to get a glimpse of some major motion picture star waiting for valet. Internally, I¬†made the location die in relevance along with¬†my n00b Angeleno self. Full disclosure: Leave it to a media dinner to allow me to reassess. I don’t valet. I drive a convertible with the top down all the time (now with the weather being warm)¬†that, in what I am sure is a subconscious way of acting out my love-hate-love LA self, I keep so dirty you could write “Wash me” on my rims in brake dust. [caption id=“” align=“alignleft” width=“240”] Pink Lady (Bombay London Dry Gin, high proof apple brandy, housemade grenadine, lemon, egg white)[/caption] But let me describe what a great time I had a Cecconi’s. While I don’t comment on service when it’s a media dinner, I have to say that I immensely enjoyed all the cocktails, which had stronger pours¬†than I expected (don’t be fooled by their often pinkish colors).¬†The food was¬†not ground-breaking but appreciatingly¬†solid in their execution. Gin lovers¬†will appreciate this 14 drink menu and some selections, like the Mexican-influeced¬†Jalisco Sour or Picante Paloma, will surprise you. The selection on the menu is especially savvy. There’s variety without the dangers of being overwhelming. Clear categories line the all-day one pager from apps to salads and¬†”Carpaccio & Tartare.” “Charcoal Grill” and “Wood Oven” items are the priciest yet half-portions are available for all the salads and almost all the pasta and risotto. In combination with the tasty, Italian-influeced cocktails, it’s all perfect for a day on the patio with the ladies. [caption id=“” align=“alignright” width=“240”] Picante Paloma (Cazadores, Aperol, fresno chili pepper, grapefruit, agave, sea salt)[/caption] Their most popular items, and understandably so, are highlighted as Cicchetti, which are also served in the middle of the day.¬†They effectively supplement or comprise your meal, these Italian “tapas” (the scallops and bone marrow qualify as such). But don’t gloss over the pasta (I have a hard time doing so, anyway). Their linguine with clams comes flavored with a bit of sea urchin and the rabbit pappardelle is as solid as any in the city - or even better - as there were generous yet complementary chunks of meat in lieu of the usual strings of meat I often see interpersed between the fat noodles. And it was all¬†al dente. The best part in regards to the pasta¬†is that they’ve just released their Tris di Pasta special on Tuesdays at dinner: Try a sampler of 3 rotating pastas for $18. They’ve also started to feature a different, seasonal pizza with ingredients sourced from the local farmer’s market on Wednesdays. And back on that celebrity tip: Our table, which was positioned on the beautiful outdoor patio separated from the¬†driveway by foliage¬†as is typical for Melrose place,¬†sat next to another who was celebrating the wrap of a certain dance competition TV show while I spied a certain Elizabeth Taylor impersonator at the bar. So that celebrity factor was certainly still there; it just failed to validate my prejudices. Prego. (All food and drink were hosted.)

[mappress mapid=“247”]

Mon - Wed

8 AM ‚Äď Midnight?

Thur - Sat

8 AM ‚Äď 1 AM

Sun

8 AM ‚Äď 11 PM

Cecconi’s 8764 Melrose Avenue West Hollywood, CA 90069 310.432.2000