Crudo Bar & Ristorante: Getting Raw on the Strip

A summer lunch at Crudo can feel a bit like an afternoon in Italy — the hot, still air; the beads of condensation trickling down your glass of cold Vernaccia; the barked music of Italian conversation all around you. (The place is already popular with Italian tourists and expats, some of them with their arms around pneumatic California blondes. The scene outside is the Sunset Strip and not Viareggio, the beautiful women across the way are disappearing into an H&M, and you are on the patio of what used to be the Floribbean bistro Norman’s instead of the terrace of an ornate 19th-century hotel, but Antonio Alessi, who used to own the pizzeria that was displaced by Mozza, is good at the dolce far niente thing. It’s like a Mediterranean vacation without the dreadful exchange rate. The cooking is about as good as it is at Italian places that don’t really care about the cooking, which is to say you’ll do okay with simple fare, like grilled South African prawns the size of bananas or fettuccine with pancetta and chickpeas, and you probably know enough to stay away from anything called seafood carbonara. The name of the restaurant, of course, refers to the newly popular Italian fish preparation, but aside from the odd appetizer of seared raw tuna or salmon carpaccio with yogurt, you won’t taste much of the exquisitely seasoned raw fish you may be hoping to find — the offerings at the crudo bar itself, a small counter in the heart of the restaurant, are much closer to what you might find in a French plateau de fruits de mer. 8570 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, (310) 289-1131.

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