Osteria Drago Another Fine Dining Venue for the 'Drago Dynasty'

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Well, the 'Drago Dynasty' boys have done it again with a charming restaurant at 8741 W. Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood. First view is a lovely open patio area, where diners watch all the action on the boulevard while enjoying some of the best Italian dishes to be had in Los Angeles. According to Osteria Drago managing partner Rinaldo Colantoni, who first met Celestino Drago when he showed up at Osteria Romana Orsini in 1977. "He arrived straight from Sicily, carrying a suitcase and looking for a job" said Colantoni. These two talented Italians shared a bachelor apartment, and became great friends and business associates through the years.

Following Celestino's chef stint at Osteria Romana Orsini, he opened his first restaurant Celestino in the 80s (which later closed and was reborn in Pasadena in 2011 under the same name). The rest is fine Italian dining in Los Angeles history. The Drago brothers Celestino, Tanino, Calogero and Giocomino have created an outstanding collection of distinctive fine dining restaurants. Centro Drago, Downtown, Yojisan Via Alloro and Il Pastaio in Beverly Hills, Shu, Sushi House Unico in the Beverly Glen, Celestino in Pasadena and Osteria Drago,which opened in West Hollywood in 2012 are among their dining dynasty. They also now have a line of specialty Italian foods, and a very nice red wine from Sicily "Papa Drago" that is made especially for their dining guests enjoyment, and is poured by the bottle or the glass.

Osteria Drago has off street patio dining, as well as an inviting little bar at the entrance. The main diningroom is filled with colorful Murano glass vases, and offers some small booths for more intimate dining. Appetizer and salad selections we enjoyed were Burrata con Barbabietole, Burrata cheese with baby beets, pistachios and white balsamic dressing or Insalata di Rucola, arugula with shaved baby artichokes and parmigiano cheese. Both dishes were both prepared with the freshest farm produce and were a delicious start to a memorable meal. The Drago family food philosophy is to source the highest quality seasonal produce "keep things simple" and let the ingredients be the stars.

Favorite pasta selections included Taglietelle al Ragu D'Agnello, fresh ribbon pasta with lamb ragu that is rich, full bodied and delicious. The Agnolotti di Mais, sweet corn filled Agnolotte with butter glaze and zucchini flowers is very light and is one of my favorite Celestino recipe. I consider this dish one of the best pasta plates on the planet.

The pan seared salmon is an amazing surprise for fish lovers, and is served with cannellini bean puree, green beans and salsa verde. The salmon is perfectly cooked, with a crisp delicious top skin and the salsa provides a zesty punch. Brasato di Manzo con Polenta is such a special dish, featuring tenderly cooked short ribs with rich gravy resting on a creamy bed of polenta - so delicious!

Sweet endings at Osteria Drago include tiramisu and popular Italian favorites, but we selected the Mousse de Cioccolato, a chocolate mousse ball filled with a raspberry jam and topped with fresh whipped cream that is amazing. For a light finish they serve a selection of wonderful gelato favors, and of course, it all ends well with a sweet little cup of Illy espresso. The ambiance is inviting and relaxing, which seems to be a solid thread of hospitality that runs through the entire Drago collection of restaurants. Buono Appetito!

Osteria Drago
8741 W. Sunset Boulevard
West Hollywood, CA

By Bonnie Carroll

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