It's a restaurant; it's a social club; it's got a life-size model of Vito Corleone in the vestibule. Start with melon and prosciutto at this old-fashioned Italian, then loosen your belt for the sausage and peppers. Someone at the table has to try Robert Blake's dish—the fusille e minestra (Blake added the spinach) with sauce the color of a fire truck. For dessert, leave the gun, take the cannoli—light and sweet, with a crisp shell dusted in cinnamon. There's a jazz supper club upstairs; Tuesday is “Movie Night.”
Best Red-Sauce Italian Restaurant, August 2010
L.A. may not have a little Italy, but we have plenty of Italian restaurants. There are the classics like La Dolce Vita and Matteo's, Brentwood's Italian Row, and the ingredient-driven Osteria Mozza. But sometimes we want the kind of restaurant where gravy isn't brown, pasta comes from a box, and portions could feed an army. For this we go to Vitello's Italian Restaurant
. It's the only place to surround ourselves with braciola (thinly sliced beef stuffed with bread crumbs, prosciutto, and cheese), Robert Blake stories (where did he sit on that fateful night?), and opera singers. As it should, red sauce comes on everything, from thick slices of fried mozzarella to plates ofmostaccioli
and chicken parmigiana.