Thursday, July 26, 2007


3115 Pico Boulevard
Santa Monica CA 90405
(23 July 2007)

I was in California for business travelling with some real wine buffs who insisted we go to Valentino’s not for the food but for the wine list. They where rights of course as the wine list is not so much a list as a book. The restaurant has over 200,000 bottles in its cellar and when they drop the wine list in your lap it is quite intimidating. If they have a wine, they also have all notable vintages of that wine, so it is not enough to know the producer you need to know the vintage. Similarly, if they have the region they have all the notable producers… I just found this confusing.

In the end I settled for a Hofstatter, Pinot Nero Riserva S.Urbano 2000 from Alte Adige and a Voerzio Barolo Cerequio 1996. Choose both because they where pretty reasonable value for money (in a pricey list) and because I know the producers. I hate taking pot shots on wine when I’m with business associates.

The food was pretty decent too! I had summer truffle risotto that was as good as any I’ve ever had. Actually, it was amongst the best I’ve had to be fair. I also had a steak, fillet mignon, with a Balsamic reduction sauce. The beef was really good and perfectly prepared but the sauce was a real disappointment that ruined the whole dish for me. Basically, balsamic vinegar is a very popular ingredient that people tend to use in inappropriate ways.

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