Cal Mare - Beverly Center


#1

Had a really good dinner at the new michael mina coastal-italian restaurant run by chef adam sobel (guy savoy, rn74).

The beautiful space and seafood focused menu really reminded me of a more casual marea in nyc.

zeppole, lardo, uni, caviar
This was awesome, meltingly fatty lardo over sweet and briny uni and caviar all on top of a warm crisp zeppole. Perfect start and again reminded me of marea.

D.O.P. Mozzarella Di Buffala, Warm Zeppole, Prosciutto, Caramelized Onion, Wild Flower Honey
Wow, one of the highlights of the night. Great contrast in temperature, flavor and textures going on here, the zeppole was warm and crispy, the mozzarella and olive oil was cool, creamy and nutty and the prosciutto and onions were salty and sweet.

Pacific Oysters, Limoncello Granita, Pink Peppercorn
Really great plump meaty oysters that didn’t get overwhelmed by the granita on top.

pesce palla fritto - Crispy Blowfish Tails, Fennel, Salsa Verde
Another highlight, these were like the perfect gorton’s fisherman fish sticks.

patatine zucca e ricotta - Squash Chips, Lemon Ricotta, Persimmon Conserva
italian nachos, loved the persimmons on the bottom.

topinambur e mortadella - Sunchoke, Truffle Vinaigrette, Pistachio
Great antipasti with tons of umami, sunchokes came boiled and fried under the mortadella.

calamari ripieni - Stuffed California Squid, ‘Nduja, Hazelnut, Valencia Orange
This was a miss, the nduja stuffing was way too salty and overpowered the squid.

focaccia di patate - Basil Pesto, Parmigiano Fonduta
Cool presentation, couldn’t eat more than a slice of this though.

agnolotti di granchio - Dungeness Crab, Truffle, Butternut Squash, Sea Urchin
Favorite pasta of the night

spaghetti alla chitarra con vongole - Clams, Grist & Toll Whole Wheat, Spicy Broccoli
Good texture on the handmade spaghetti but the dish was over-seasoned.

rigatoni “all’amatriciana di mare” - Smoked Tuna Belly, Pecorino Romano, Guanciale
The cheese and the fish wasn’t my favorite, and again over-seasoned.

fior di latte - Ricotta Gelato, New Press Olive Oil, Sea Salt
Loved this and the pistacchio.

arance rosse - Blood Orange Sorbet, Vanilla Cream

pistacchio siciliano - Pistachio Gelato, Preserved Lemon, Amarena Cherry

caffe shakerato - Italian Iced Coffee, Mini Cannoli Trio


What’s your favorite new restaurant or old favorite rediscovered?
#2

Looks very promising for “mall” food.


#3

Thanks @PorkyBelly
Love the pics and want too try Cal Mare.

Please don’t take this the wrong way but I am curious: my memories of Marea (went once, loved it, then have not been able to get in when convenient, as they got so f#ing popular) are of simple Italian seafood dishes. Has that changed?
This looks pretty fucking fussy and over “dressed” for the Marea comparison, IMH (and not-so-well-informed) O.


#4

The bigger entrees aren’t too fussy: steaks/chicken and grilled fish.


#5

True, it appears so from reading the menu, but not my point (nor my interest).
I think J Gold (or maybe it was someone else) wrote recently that main courses are, in general, the least interesting part of an Italian meal.
Unless I read somewhere how wonderful the entrees are (which I doubt I will), I would be going to Cal Mare for the crudi, the antipasti and the pasta - not a hunk of protein.


#6

Thanks @CiaoBob.

The comparison was based on cal mare’s coastal italian menu with seafood focused crudos, antipasti and handmade pastas. i’m not aware of any other seafood focused italian places in la.

The only thing that i thought was overly fussy was the calamari, i didn’t think anything else was really overdressed.

If you’re hungry and want to try a bunch of things go for one of the “chef’s exploration” options. i went with the $105 option and got everything that was pictured in my review. I’m not sure if they were trying to make a good first impression or what, but they were very generous with the food and portions. They wanted to send out more food plus a main before i had to raise the red flag. I forgot to mention the service was excellent and very friendly too.


#7

Thanks - that’s all really helpful.
I love the idea of " coastal italian menu with seafood focused crudos, antipastis and handmade pasta."


#8

Jesus why can’t something like this open at the AV Mall


#9

I am so on the fence here. I have a rez to try Cal Mare tonight.

So many things about this place smell fishy to me at this point…
– it is so new, and I have been burned so often by pretty new places that have not worked out their opening issues
– Michael Mina’s LA efforts have truly sucked and failed (I have no idea about his out of town places but I know he is big up North and in I believe in Vegas)
– It looks like a WeHo beautiful people spot, not a place that will make great food
– the food looks overly fussy

OTOH

– We love love Italian seafood, especially well done crudos
– Part of me says, go now, while they are not skimping on anything to make folks happy
– the food does look gorgeous.

I know I am completely overthinking this, and I probably will go. But, I hate to be burned - or to miss something great - at this kind of place.
Thanks. And send me the bill for the therapy.


#10

i hear you, i had your exact same concerns but i’m glad i went. i’m betting the place will be pretty dead on a tuesday night (it wasn’t even half full when i went friday) so i’m sure you’ll be getting extra attention. come hungry and get the chef’s exploration and tell them what you want to try and they’ll customize it to your preference.

the only caveat is that they are still new and some of my dishes were over-seasoned and i saw a table wait at least 40 minutes for their entrees, however they did make it right by comping their entire meal including extra drinks. they really wanted everybody to be happy with their meal.

the bill is in the mail.


#11

Did you go? What did you think? I have meetings at Cedars tomorrow, and though to drop in for dinner.


#12

Yes.
It was really quite good.
Not exceptional but solid.
Room is really nice.
Doubt it will do well in the long run. But now the quality and attention are all there


#13

Went for dine LA and the food was delicious and the pricing was a downright steal compared to their regular menu pricing. As echoed the service was impeccable and everyone was super friendly. Definitely check them out before Dine LA runs its course.


#14

what did you order?


#15

oh nice tip


#16

SO and I went, 4 course tasting menu. Here’s a more detailed rundown - we ordered the following:

1st
Squid in tomato spicy tomato broth with fregola - very tomatoey seafood broth, super tender squid and fregola pearls that complimented the squid with a bit of chew, served with sesame topped fresh baked bread to soak up all the sauce
Mama’s stuffed peppers - with rice and pancentta, super hot melt in your mouth delicious

2nd
House made mozzarella with zepolle and proscuitto - sweat creamy mozzarella drenched in olive oil contrasted really well with the fried doughnuts wrapped in salty proscuitto, with a little hint of honey
Rainbow cauliflower with uni, finger lime, and pancetta. Kind of like a warm salad dish but the acidity cut through nicely through the saltiness of the pancetta and the tender multi colored cauliflower was beautiful to look at. Not sure the uni was necessary but it was definitely tasty and fresh.

3rd
Seared branzino with fried finger potato and botarga - perfectly cooked fish fillet skin-on served with a grilled lemon, crispy fingerling potatoes and added punch due to the bottarga cream sauce (i assume the bottarga was in the sauce as i didn’t see any sprinkled on the fish and since the sauce tasted appropriately fishy).
Brick chicken with chickpeas - seasoned chicken partially deboned and crisped. Only disappointment of the night, chicken was seasoned well with crispy skin but the chicken was overcooked. They didn’t put any noticeable jus or sauce on the chicken which made it extra dry. Ended up squeezing some of my charred lemon from the branzino onto the chicken which made it taste much better.

4th
Tiramisu gelato with an almond mini cannoli, best cannoli I’ve had in LA light and crisp shell with a rich almondy creme filling (way better than eatalys version). Tiramisu ice cream was creamy and not too sweet.

5th
Bonus toffees - with raisins and nuts, very nice but a tad to sweet for my taste

Ordered on the side
Fried brussels in bagna cauda - standard fried brussels in an anchovy flavored sauce, delicious but i feel like every place does brussel sprouts now.
Daily crudo - ahi tuna with blood orange, pickled radish, and olive oil. Super fresh and tasty. (ordered on hh)
Daily wine and mezcal cocktail.

The service was impeccable, we were seated and I believe the manager served us (so YMMV) but he was super friendly, conversational, accommodating, and kept on addressing me and SO as “Mr.and Mrs. Hungry Hungry Hippos” I assume he had gotten my name off our reservation, which I found to be a very nice personal touch. I did the pricing and since they serve full sized portions instead of tasting portions its a steal (most DineLA’s are such a ripoff now, with either smaller tasting portions or really cheap/lame menu choices). Been to two michael mina restaurants in Vegas and have never really come away that impressed but this was beyond our expectations and they really do seafood well here.

Our total meal (not including all the extras) would have been 147 (i divided the whole branzino price by 2 since you only get one fillet for dineLA) and we paid 98 for the prix fixe. So great deal go check them out! Awesome happy hour too 4-6 pm!


#17

You mean that’s not your real name?


#18

Lol I wish!


#19

Good reports @PorkyBelly & @hungryhungryhippos!

Hey @CiaoBob. Curious about what’s behind this observation.

Why? It’s not really a please everyone at a mall type place? Food not good enough? Space too big to fill? Or other? :grinning:

Thanks!