Chef Casey Lane’s The Tasting Kitchen is the type of establishment you would typically encounter in Manhattan’s West Village neighborhood.
It’s that exposed brick wall and garden-like ambience with olive trees that gives this restaurant charm and character.
At first impressions The Tasting Kitchen’s seasonal menu appears to be short and sweet, but don’t be fooled, the food here is unbelievably delicious.
You don’t need to trek all the way to Venice for incredible Italian food, look no further than Venice, California. With that said, I would make reservations ahead of time since The Tasting Kitchen gets packed quick.
Cocktails & Starter
Happy Clouds (left-left): Flavored with rum, lime, honey and white pepper. Slightly sweet, but also quite strong for my taste.
Money in the Bank (left-right): Mixed with plymouth, chartreuse, and orange bitters. This drink had a bold orange flavor and was slightly spicy. Very well-made. A favorite!
Bread & Butter (right): Yes, at The Tasting Kitchen you have to pay for bread & butter. At $3.50 you will be served soft & warm bread, plus scrumptious, sweet & spreadable butter topped with a little sea salt. So good and a must-do. A favorite!
Salad & Side
Radicchio Olives & Pecorino Salad (top): Incredibly delicious salad with crunchy hazelnut and pine nuts, sliced sweet red onions, and large pieces of croutons. The radicchio was tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette and spot on. A favorite!
Sautéed Spinach (bottom): A side of sautéed spinach tossed with pine nuts and roasted garlic. This side wasn’t too oily which was great, but it lacked flavor, perhaps a little more garlic wouldn’t have hurt.
Salt Roasted Branzino: The branzino arrived as a whole fish, but I requested our server to filet the fish (once I was done taking a picture, of course). Dressed up with lots of good quality extra virgin olive oil, lemon, oregano, black pepper and salt, this beautiful Mediterranean sea bass was showered with olives, capers and sun-dried tomatoes – really doesn’t get any better than that. The succulent fish was delicate and highly flavorsome. A favorite!
Tagliarini, Shrimp & Serrano: Made-from-scratch Tagliarini pasta, juicy grilled shrimp and spicy Serrano chilies tossed in a buttery wine sauce was outrageously delicious. Being a spicy food lover, I absolutely loved the touch of Serrano chilies in this dish. Keep in mind, although the pasta has a kick to it, by no means is it unbearable. Simplicity at its best. A favorite.
Coffee & Dessert
Coffee: A bit burnt. Good, but not exceptional.
Bread Pudding: Soft and warm bread pudding topped with a caramel butterscotch flavored sauce. This delectable dessert wasn’t too sweet, it was perfection. I loved the addition of nuts over the top of the bread pudding. The espresso ice-cream on the side paired impeccably well with the light bread pudding. One of the best desserts I’ve had. A favorite!
RESTAURANT REVIEW: The Tasting Kitchen
FAVORITES: Money in the Bank | Bread & Butter | Radicchio Olives & Pecorino Salad | Salt Roasted Branzino | Tagliarini, Shrimp & Serrano | Bread Pudding
VERDICT: 4.75 / 5
Being from the New York City area, I’m used to incredible Italian food, and The Tasting Kitchen did not disappoint one bit. As mentioned above, the atmosphere here resembled a restaurant you would find in Manhattan’s West Village district. Although this restaurant has a garden-like setting and is intimate, it does get quite loud, especially on a Saturday night. The food here is fresh, flavorful and you won’t leave here feeling heavy or bloated. The prices are somewhat reasonable given the quality of food and ambience, but they are slghtly high given the portion size. This restaurant is upscale so that is expected. If there is one thing I must recommend, I would say don’t leave here without trying the Bread Pudding which was hands down the highlight of my night. I look forward to trying brunch next time. Very Highly Recommended.
Food: Outstanding | Drinks: Excellent | Décor: Casual/Trendy/Intimate | Service: Professional/Good | Value: Decent
What’s your favorite Italian restaurant in Los Angeles? What’s your favorite Italian dish?