Drago FuoriLos Angeles is now home to another incarnation of Osteria Drago on Sunset Blvd.  The restaurant space was reclaimed by Osteria Drago right after Il Sole departed.  Now it’s been sleekly modernized in a familiar “Celestino Drago” kind of way.  The interior is clean and bright, with a warm homey feel that begs for you stay and linger over a glass of vino italiano.

And it’s one of my new favorite spots for lunch…

*Do not click through unless you are prepared for some seriously gratuitous food photography.*

Rinaldo Colantoni @OsteriaDragoI stopped in for lunch with a couple of serious food and wine geeks who were amped to taste Chef Evan Gotanda’s creations.  We were also greeted by the ever-charming Romano, Rinaldo Colantoni.   He’s handsome, attentive, and has just about the best Italian accent ever.  There’s something transformative about dining in an Italian eatery run by Italian ex-pats; it’s both grounding and gratifying, like a tiny vacation- especially in a town like Hollywood.

The food was predictably excellent, starting with the classic Drago salad of beets and fresh burrata.  Sparked with those crunchy onions and woven together by a bit of grassy olive oil and the requisite aceto basalmico, this salad is tough to beat.  It’s the kind of dish that transcends “ordinary” into timelessness.Insalata di Bietole e Burrata @Osteriadrago

At Rinaldo’s insistence we followed the salad with a bit of house-made pasta, cloaked in a slow-cooked ragu.  I loved the addition of tiny mushrooms.  Earthy, unassuming, and just plain delicious.  This is comfort food.Spaghetti al Ragu @OsteriaDrago

After that we sampled a few entrees, including one of the most succulent pieces of poultry I have ever tasted.  Osteria Drago’s Cornish game hen is completely de-boned, then slow cooked sous-vide, and then finally roasted until it’s encased in its own crispy, perfectly rendered skin.  There is no better match for Terlano’s inky black Porphyr Lagrein than this mouth-watering piece of meat.Roast Hen@OsteriaDrago

Another huge success was the swordfish, slathered in olive oil, tomatoes and capers.  Fresh and toothsome- this pesce spada was a fat, juicy steak from the sea.  Terlano’s Quarz Sauvignon was the perfect compliment to bring out the meaty salinity of the fish and highlight the bright flavor of barely cooked tomatoes.Pescespada @OsteriaDrago

Thanks Rinaldo, for your warm hospitality.

Terlano Quarz @OsteriaDrago

We’ll be back for lunch.

And we’re bringing more Terlano.