>> Carasau Ristorante | Eat the World Los Angeles

Friday, 2 April 2021

Carasau Ristorante

ITALY 🇮🇹
(SARDEGNA)

COVID-19 UPDATE: Indoor dining is open with limits. The outdoor garden is very pleasant with heaters for evenings and well-spaced tables.

If you search for images of Sardinia, beautiful photographs of crystal clear aqua waters and rocky coastlines will fill your browser. The interior of the Mediterranean Italian island is rolling farmland and clouds that resemble some of the beautiful lands of the Midwest here. But look a bit closer at the cows. Even the cows seem happy.
 
There have not been any cows in Culver City for a while, but if there were they probably would not be happy amongst all the apartment buildings and the flashy new Culver Steps mall plaza. Veer southeast from the plaza onto Van Buren Place though, because there lives the city's and Southern California's only Sardinian kitchen.

Pane carasau.

The restaurant is named after for pane carasau, which means "toasted bread" in the Sardinian language, and an unavoidable part of your appetite when on the island. It has been made for thousands of years, originally by shepherds living for long periods of time away from their homes. When kept dry, it can last for many months, which makes it much more practical than "regular" bread.

You will find the pane carasau served with many of the Sardinian dishes, sometimes as a side, and other times used playfully. The owner of the restaurant originally opened it because of the lack of food from his home here in Los Angeles. Although there are many Italian standards on the menu, come here for the items you will not find anywhere else. If this is your first time trying Sardinian food, find him before ordering and get a lay of the land and some focus.

As temperatures rise, the shrimp catalana ($19, above) makes a good starter. Overheard being described to others later as similar to ceviche, this was not wrong. A couple broken off pieces of pane carasau come with the dish, but do not feel timid to ask for more.

The name might be confusing at first, a sauteed dish reminiscent of something cooked in Barcelona might be conjured up. But rest assured, this is Sardinia-style, fish and especially lobster (aragosta alla catalana) are cooked this way, first boiled lightly and then combined with lemon juice and the other fresh ingredients.

If you thought you had tried all the pasta in the world, you may have a couple more to add to your list. The best and most memorable of the specifically-Sardinian pastas is of course malloredus. Here this pasta style, which bears more than a passing resemblance to mealworms, is served as malloredus capidanese ($21, above).

Already hearty with pork sausage, this preparation is generous in its portion and full of meaty and fennel seed flavor. The tomato sauce has a bit of saffron and the entire dish is topped off with pecorino cheese. It is really lovely.

Trips to Sardinia and now to Carasau Ristorante should not end without trying another unique pasta dish called culurgiones ($18, above), which are stuffed with potato. These nuggets are compared to ravioli for the layman to understand, but the pasta itself is much less thick than the usual version of that.

There is also the distinct taste of mint in each bite, and pecorino once again is grated on top of the dish to finish it off. While the malloredus probably are more enjoyable, and give you a taste of the all-important pork sausage beloved back home, these should be ordered simply for the experience.

Less unique but still pretty delicious and excellently fried is the pollo carasau ($24, above), two wings of juicy breast with an enjoyable breading. This comes with an arugula and tomato salad and house-made chips.

The restaurant also affords you the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful wines of Sardinia. Because they are less well-renowned around the world than some other regions of Italy, bottles like a wonderful Olianas Cannonau can be purchased at decent prices for a restaurant. The owner remarked that he plans to eventually phase out his non-Sardinian options so that guests will become more familiar with those from his home.


Also featuring a piece of pane carasau is the thoroughly-Sardinian dessert known as seadas ($12, above), a deep-fried pastry made with honey and cheese. While somewhat difficult to get down after such a bountiful meal, it is the perfect end to a lovely evening.

On the next visit, the focus will be on fregola, the other Sardinian-specific pasta dish they serve. These are small pasta pearls, cut down from spaghetti-sized rolls made of semolina flour, and typically served with a selection of fresh catch.

📍 3918 Van Buren Place, Culver City, Westside.

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1 comment:

  1. Cozy location, great outdoor garden, amazing food, thank you Vincenzo

    ReplyDelete