Valentino

3115 Pico Blvd. Santa Monica, CA 90405(310) 829-4313valentinosantamonica.com

16x9

When you compare to the likes of Capo, Via Veneto or Piccolo its definitely on the stuffier side. And the decor is bit on the dated side, as are many of its patrons, but I have to hand it to Valentino when it comes to the food. Quite impressive. Easily lives up to the hype in culinary arena.

The prosciutto with melon was among the best I’ve ever had. Top notch San Daniele delivering heavenly slices of buttery pork with razor-thin pops of saltiness, paired with the most spot on, perfectly ripe melon. Landing stuck like Mary Lou Retton with pine tar on her feet.

The other dish I will never forget was the risotto with white truffle shavings.  Now I know you could practically put white truffles on balsa wood and it would taste amazing, but I’ve had truffles before and since, and for some reason no other experience has matched this one.

But as good as the food was, sadly I’m not sure I would ever return, partly because some of the other dishes weren’t as special as the two I mentioned and partly due to the overall experience/setting, which wasn’t my bag. That said, if you are 60 or older- or simply feel 60 or older, this place should be perfect for you. And I don’t mean that in condescending ass-y way. I’m being sincere. The second I turn 60 I am heading back there for sure, assuming it’s still open.

3 teeth

BONDST

6 Bond St. New York, NY 10012 • (212) 777-2500 • bondstrestaurant.com
 2011_jiro_dreams_of_sushi_003

I went here after hearing so much hype and, as always, hype is a dangerous thing, because Bond didn’t even come close. Sure, they talk the talk, from the pretentious service to the sleek décor- but the prices are just obnoxious (as if they were shaved truffles as opposed to raw fish) and the sushi is nothing special. Nothing you couldn’t just get at Mottsu down the street, but at a third the price. Oh, and Mottsu would have bigger pieces.

That said, Bond did excel at one thing. The sushi pieces might win the award for the smallest I have ever seen (Hatsuhana coming in a distant second). So small, you might actually question whether or not you accidentally ordered of the children’s menu. So small the picture above was probably taken with a macro lens. I have several more small jokes, but I’ll spare you.

The place isn’t bad, mind you, and if you have money to blow and simply want to be “seen,” then Bondst should do the trick.

2 teeth