The inexorable Californication of cuisine has turned formerly familiar Italian menus into minefields of fusions like linguini sashimi and meatball ceviche. For some OG Old World, hit Amarone Wine And Kitchen, just now open.
AKW's a casual, 42-seat spot from two Italian childhood friends who ended up cheffing at NYC's San Domenico and LA's Eurochow (as beloved as it is defunct). All the pastas are made in-house, while bi-weekly shipments from The Boot bring in specialties like Arduino Olive Oil and 18-month-old Prosciutto -- subjecting AKW's mailman to frequent maulings at the jaws of bon vivant dogs. The dishes -- highlighted by a crispy-outside, juicy-inside Roasted Game Hen and a saffron-laced Strozzapreti -- were all gleaned from the owners' mothers' recipes, an easy task, given that they had 37 years of cohabitation to pull it off.
As for the wine, all 140+ choices hail from Italy, with bottle prices starting at $30 and climbing to $900 -- the latter selection fusing ancient Old World vinoculture with the modern Angelino's desire to explain that his bottle of wine costs as much as a flight to Rome.