Bar Toscana


Brentwood’s Toscana restaurant has taken over the space next door for this sleek, cocktail-centric spot that lowers the area’s age bracket by 15 years. Psychedelic video art projections match the restaurant’s edgy soundtrack and the clientele’s even edgier fashion. The market-driven small plates play second fiddle to the drinks, but they don’t have to. Sweet roasted pumpkin is tossed with grilled chanterelles and goat cheese in a wintry salad. A special vegetable lasagna highlights the gooey nuttiness of fontina cheese. Baked cubes of polenta beneath a blanket of shaved black truffles are meant for dipping in a Gorgonzola fondue. The cocktails, dreamed up by the acclaimed Francesco Lafranconi and executed by mixologist William Perbellini, are supernatural achievements in flavor balance and easily the best this side of the 405. Pair the luscious after-dinner San Marco with the assortment of house-made Italian cookies.» 11633 San Vicente Blvd., Brentwood (310-826-0028 or D nightly. Full bar. Small Plates   $$

Photograph courtesy Yelp