When a restaurateur suddenly finds himself in possession of 1,500 year old recipes, what to do? Archive and hoard, or generously share with others? In the case of Stefano Ongaro at his All'Angelo Ristorante on Melrose, thankfully it's the latter.
Starting this Wednesday, July 15, Signore Ongaro rolls out his Fifth Century Venetian Tastings program, a monthly feast showcasing recipes from a cookbook of Venetian recipes his father recently bought at auction. (No peeking: the book is locked away in a safe deposit box.) As Ongaro explains, "it's a very rich cuisine in terms of spices and so forth."
While deciding what to put on the menu, the decision-making process seems like it would be difficult, so Ongaro "went through my memories of the recipes that my mother and grandmother cooked for me" to figure what he wanted his patrons to experience. At All'Angelo, these rare recipes are in the capable hands of chef Roberto Franzoni, who was born in Verona and has extensive experience at the likes of Cipriani in both Venice and New York City.
Each month Ongaro and Franzoni will look at different influences on Venetian gastronomy. August's feast, for example, will focus on Jewish Venetian cuisine, and September will likely incorporate Austrian foods.
Five courses are only $45 as part of All'Angelo's more recent shift towards casual dining. "I tried to keep it a modest price," Onrgaro says. $45 (plus gratuity etc.) for all the food listed below sounds like a steal. For an additional $28, wine pairings from Vignalta winery near Venice, should not be passed up. Check out the Venetian dialect used in the menu items below:
Polpettine de pesse e Baccala' Mantecato e Radiccio
Branzino croquette, Venetian style Cod Fish and grilled Radicchio
Bigoli neri in salsa con Pevarasse
Squid ink infused Bigoli with Clams, Venetian sauce
Gnocchi de Pan in brodo de Capon e parmigiano
Bread Gnocchi in Capon broth with diced Parmesan cheese and Capon
Costesine e Uganega coe Verze Sofegae
Pork Ribs and home made Sausage with Braised Savoy Cabage
Torta de Riso
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All'Angelo: 7166 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, (323) 933-9540.