OMG fresh shaved truffles over handmade pasta in Studio City!!!!!!!!!!
I struggled to find a more eloquent opening for this post - but couldn't find another way that would better express my first taste of the 2-month-old Ombra Ristorante on Cahuenga. I nearly died today from excitement.
Ombra is located at the site of the former Bollywood Indian Restaurant, but you would never know from the look of the place - it has been completely transformed into a chic, minimalist but cozy space with espresso themed decor and sleek, modern chandeliers.
We knew we were off to a good start when, instead of the standard bread basket with oil & vinegar or olive tapenade, we were presented with a plate of foccacia and caponata (eggplant relish).
Guess which one I went with? Forget the porcini, I went whole hog for the Umbricelli with fennel sausage and black truffle ($29). Which came with tableside service from chef/owner Michael Young (whose credentials include Valentino and Drago Santa Monica) - he proceeded to shave paper-thin slices of gorgeousness over my fresh made pasta.
[Is $29 a lot to spend on weekday lunch? Yes and No. Yes if you are on a budget, but No considering what you get for it - and think about the fact that fresh shaved truffle is involved, and for just $5 more than Scarpetta's crazy expensive spaghetti with nothing but tomato sauce and basil!]
Did I mention I almost died of excitement?!!! Ever since 8 1/2 Taverna shuttered, I despaired that I would ever find fresh shaved truffle in my neck of the Valley for lunch ever again.
And here we were - all the stress of the week blown away by each beautiful round of truffle as it fluttered down into my bowl.
All in all, a fantastic find!!! 'Ombra' literally means 'shadow', referring to both a glass of wine, and the Venetian culture of hardworking gondoliers and merchants, who step into the shadow of buildings from time to time to take a break and drink a glass. Definitely a fitting theme for Queen Bee and I in terms of 'break time' - we left thoroughly recharged and ready to face whatever stress was sure to come our way in the remaining hours between us and the weekend.
Before we left, our server reminded us that the Risotto Porcini on the dineLA menu is delicious and that we should come back to try it - I can't wait to do just that! Based on regular menu pricing for calamari ($12)+average price of pasta ($13)+any dessert ($7), estimated savings for the dineLA deal would be around $10!
Beyond dineLA, they also have quail, white corn polenta, and gelato flavors like pistachio rosewater on the menu, and a "Notte Slow" (Slow Night) Monday prix fixe dinner, 3-courses for $35 plus $12 carafes of wine. Love that they mean for this to be a no-fuss spot for great Italian. I definitely anticipate going back to this little-local-'bistro'-that-could soon, as many times as I can afford, asap!!!
On a 7 point scale:
Flavor - 6 bites
Presentation - 6 bites
Originality - 6 bites
Ambience - 6 stars
Service - 6 stars
Overall experience - 6 bites
Price - $$$ (3 bite marks)
Probability of return visit - 100%
3737 Cahuenga Blvd., Studio City, CA 91604
OpenTable: Look for reservations