For all of you who have been to La Botte - you know how delicious this hidden gem is. For those who haven't - you need to head down to the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and 7th.
Relatively hidden from view on bustling SMB, this restaurant packs quite a culinary punch. Beneath a low ceiling, surrounded by gorgeous wood, bottles of wine, and a gentle hum of quiet conversation: it is made for first dates meant to impress.
The food? An impressive collection of both northern Italian staples and innovations with a Michelin-ranked chef's flair. Examiner Charles Ryan went for dinner and tasted these menu items:
Carpaccio Di Branzino E Ricci Di Mare - Urchin wrapped in Mediterranean sea bass. Wonderful, intense, delicious taste. The urchin is a real standout.
Oysters - Light, great flavor. With Pinot Grigio.
Trout with Morel Mushrooms - The accompanying broth really enhanced the mushroom flavor. You can't go wrong with morels.
Cheese and Artichoke Soup - A hearty soup that could be equated to rustic Italian comfort food.
Carpaccio with Truffles - Truffles. Truffles. Truffles. If you like truffles, La Botte will deliver with heavy-handed portions.
Raviolini del Plin al Tartufo Nero - (More truffles!!!) Plin means 'pinched' in Italian and describes the pinched edges of the ravioli. Perfect texture and ratio of filling versus pasta.
Tagliatelle Alla Bolognese - Another classic Italian dish. Warm, hearty, full of flavor.
Ravioli Di Brasato Su Salsa Di Porcini - Filet mignon plus ravioli plus porcini mushrooms equals a true delicacy. The texture of the ravioli is soft, and the flavors of the filet, butter, and sage reinforce Chef Stefano's dedication to delivering Italian dishes that are sensory delights.
Almond Sorbet - This cleanser was perfect. Not too almond-tasting (a la Amaretto) - the perfect amount.
Sea Bass with Tomato Water - Very light. The refreshing element of tomato water really added to the freshness of the fish.
Oxtail with Sweet Potato - A very traditional meat prepared with a delicious sweet potato puree.
Filetto Al Barolo Tartufato - Perfect cut of meat - cooked to medium-rare perfection. (Note - more truffles.)
MUSHROOM ICE CREAM - Yes. Mushroom ice cream. And this dessert truly needs to be packaged so everyone can enjoy. It's flavor is a sweet with only a slight yet very distinct mushroom flavor.
Every course was served with the appropriate wine pairing, off of an extensive wine list appropriate for an Italian restaurant of this stature.
La Botte, though open for almost a decade, is a hidden gem. Part of its charm is the warm and friendly feeling that exudes not only from the decor and waitstaff, but also, and more importantly, from within the food. Much thought has been put into a menu that is true to Italian form and what one would expect from a chef with Michelin Star credentials.
And don't forget. Long live truffles!