Monday, February 22, 2010

Il Sole Restaurant - West Hollywood (Closed)

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While I'm not one to chase after celebrities, every once in a while, I end up dining at some of their hangouts. And so it was that when I was invited by Kelsey Beniasch of Wagstaff Worldwide to dine at Il Sole Restaurant in West Hollywood, I couldn't pass up the opportunity.

After all, Jennifer Aniston, Britney Spears, Hilary Duff, Orlando Bloom, Cameron Diaz, Courteney Cox-Arquette, David Arquette, Rod Stewart, Ellen DeGeneres, Portia de Rossi, Robert Downey, Jr., Jerry Seinfeld, Brooke Shields, Lisa Kudrow, Sharon Stone, Sheryl Crow, and Sting have all been photographed here.

The restaurant welcomed back Executive Chef Issac Rivera, who worked at Il Sole almost a decade before, and who recently came back from traveling and working throughout Italy. Rivera brought with him some new recipes and a Sunday prix-fixe menu; the restaurant wasn't open on Sundays before.

Since Il Sole was small, dark, and intimate (probably why it was popular with celebrities), joining us were just two others, Gourmet Pigs and SinoSoul.

We started off with bread and olive oil.

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Burrata con rucola e pomodori (Italian fresh burrata with tomato, arugula, basil, and extra virgin olive oil), $14. Supposedly, Britney Spears is a fan of the burrata. It was creamy and so delicious.

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Il Sole rosso, prosciutto with marinated eggplant, roasted peppers, goat cheese, olives, and tomato basil bruschetta, $19. This was a good variety of small bites for us all to share and to eat with the complimentary bread.

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A simple red wine.

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I couldn't resist ordering the Parmigiana di Melanzane alla Napolitana (Italian Eggplant Parmesan) Napoli-style with tomato sauce, basil, and mozzarella cheese, $15, and this didn't disappoint.

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For my entree, I chose linguini al frutti de mare (Italian linguini with fresh shrimp, squid, Manila clams, and scallops in a light tomato sauce with garlic), $32.

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Kelsy chose branzino al forno in salsa di pomodoro con basilico e vino blanco (Italian baked fish with tomato, basil, and white wine sauce), $35.

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Gourmet Pigs went with the gnocchi agli asparagi (Italian homemade large asparagus gnocchi in a butter sage sauce), $26. It sounded good on the menu, but just look at them! They were the size of my fist. Slicing into it and eating it was like eating lumps of dough, which I know technically gnocchi is, but still...

Apparently, Zach Braff is a fan of the asparagus gnocchi?! Nicole Richie likes it too! And Keanu Reeves too?!

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Tony went with the Costolleta di Vitello (Italian 16-oz Dutch Valley veal chop pan-seared with demi-glace sauce) served with spinach and asparagus, $44. Oh my god, this was sooo tender and delicious. Best entree of the bunch with the price tag too.

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As you can see, the restaurant was really quite dark. We played around with candles and cell phones to give us enough light to shoot since we didn't use flash on our cameras. Didn't want to disturb the ambiance. And if there were any celebrities dining there that evening, it was too dark to tell.

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Desserts were $8 each.

Banana chocolate tart.

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Raspberry tart.

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Everything was really quite delicious, well, with the exception of the giant asparagus gnocchi. While the desserts weren't outrageously priced, the entrees and appetizers were easily twice what I would pay elsewhere. Of course, this was the Sunset Strip and the requisite celebrity clientele and price tag to match so be prepared.

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Il Sole is across the street from One Sunset - West Hollywood, another popular celebrity hangout.

After dinner, we were told not to tip since it was being taken care of. Thanks again Kelsey and Wagstaff Worldwide for dinner.

Alas, despite the celebrity clientele, Il Sole, like One Sunset too, has closed.

Other Italian restaurant posts:
Ado Ristorante - Venice
Bollini's Pizzeria Napolitana - Monterey Park
Bulgarini Gelato Artigianale - Altadena
Charlie's Trio Cafe - Alhambra
Claro's Italian Market - San Gabriel
Claro's Italian Market - Upland
Mamma's Brick Oven Pizza and Pasta - South Pasadena
Mi Piace - Pasadena

Il Sole Restaurant
8741 W. Sunset Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069

1 year ago today, I Think I'll Go For a Walk Outside Now and walk through the Oregon woods and pick blackberries.
2 years ago today, Roasted Purple Cauliflower with Bacon and Balsamic Vinegar.
3 years ago today, Northern Vietnamese food at Vien Dong Restaurant - Garden Grove (Little Saigon).

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