oliverio Avalon Beverly Hills IMG_6130

Sometimes I’m a chef chaser. We’re not talking about Red O, or running all around town looking for Michael Mina. Think chef Matt Accarrino, and now, Milanese chef Mirko Paderno

Upon first returning to LA, I happened onto a meal at All’Angelo, one of the sadder closings of Summer ’09, and took this (lousy) pix:

all angelo

That’s a restored 1921 Berkel manual meat slicer. The meal was rather simple, but tasty, and I wondered where All’Angelo’s chef, at that time Paderno, would bounce. Few weeks later, Avalon Hotel announced a restaurant redesign with chef Paderno leading the kitchen. And it was time to steer towards quainter parts of Beverly Hills.

One mustn’t think of Oliverio as a hotel restaurant. It is a hotel restaurant, but carries none of the hotel restaurant feel, as the Avalon is a bit of an urban oasis in a quasi-suburban section of Beverly Hills. To prove that status, one simply mozy up to the indoor (alas, there is an outdoor bar) bar and listen to the banter between the neighborly regulars who now can simply walk to the best happy hour deal in all of Beverly Hills.

There is happy hour Monday through Thursday, when a hefty 50% discount applies to the entire bar menu. And even the bar menu is chock full of seafood done the (new) Italian way: crudo, tartare, hold the cream sauce.

First up (below L): spicy yellow fin tuna crudo. This wasn’t sliced sashimi style, so it’s a tad steaky, but the zesty olive oil brought zing, while coarsely ground peppercorn brought a hint of spice to accompany the peppery arugula. It is nearly inconceivable better crudo can be had at this price range; it’s simple, and it’s not evocative of sushi.

Oliverio Yellow Fin Tuna CrudoOliverio grilled octopus lentils roasted tomato

The grilled octopus tentacles were masculine, unlike the more dainty ones found at O. Mozza. Here, the carbonization (let’s not call it caramelized; it’s not candy, and it’s not onions) grill broadcasts itself clearly upon first bite. Fleshy big bites yield cephalopod that’s not too chewy – some might say “tooty” but that’d just be goofy – and just tender enough to pass as “well-prepared”. The acidity from the tomato makes these plump legs sing a bit, and the soft lentils bring the entire song to a pleasant finish. Lovely stuff, especially at half off.

While the server may have explained the cheese plate and the charcuterie plate, it mattered not. Just look at the presentation of the salumi e peperoni plate. Perty meat. The pepperoni was zesty, and the salumi just a bit spicy. Both cuts shadowed the prosciutto-type cut that was also served.

oliverio avalon salumi plate

What made the cheese plate pop that day was the floral honey. The honey sang of floral infusions even after it was confirmed to be just of a “plain” variety. 4 hulking chunks, inclusive of white cheddar, blue, brie, etc. were served, and it was more than enough to be shared by two.

oliverio avalon cheese plate

Finally, we end with protein in the form of a patty. Behold the buffalo burger with fried zucchinis.

oliverio avalon buffalo burger

Buffalo is hard to cook well. There’s no scientific method coverage on how to cook buffalo patty into the perfect “burger”. So what we have, is heavily seasoned ground buffalo done medium rare, but tasting a bit medium plus, in a very substantial but not over bearing bun, topped with classic iceberg and polygonal tomato slices. It’s a really nice “buffalo” burger – not that I eat much buffalo burger – but the fried zucchinis make this a irresistible burger plate.

Want to thank Peter for the rose love we got that night, and to Nicole @avalonbh for hooking everyone up with the extended happy hour that random Wednesday. And the barkeep (Ian?) for hooking me up with the blue, and orange, cocktails (with house infused syrups, natch!)

oliverio avalon berries and basil cocktail oliverio avalon barkeep ian

oliverio
AVALON BEVERLY HILLS
9400 West Olympic Boulevard
Beverly Hills, California 90212
310 277 5221

oliverio in Los Angeles on Fooddigger

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  • Love this place, as you know. I haven’t had the buffalo burger yet, though I was eyeing it last time I was there. That’s totally next on my list!
    .-= ShopEatSleep´s last blog ..Pinkberry’s new summer flavor =-.

  • ooh their website said it was truffle cheese on the burger. was it? Love the 50% off, thats craaazy! Was there a crowd there? The times Ive been to Avalon, its been a ghost town
    .-= stuffycheaks´s last blog ..SaMo Pub Crawl Guide, from the experts =-.

  • I feel like this post was written specifically as a taunt to me. I’m reconsidering my current state of impoverished dining. Though could also direct my funds toward a bowl of ramen at Breadbar…
    .-= Diana´s last blog ..Eat My Blog 2.0: Just in time for bikini season… =-.

  • DivaliciousBH

    Oh no! My secret haunt is now out of the bag ;)please don’t get too busy and keep the good grub and drinks flowing. Also diggn the music.

  • A certain exchange prompted this post. It’s amazing what one can find in the archives sometimes. Stuffycheaks, see DivaliciousBH’s comment. The room is now perfectly occupied, both in and out with the vibe bordering “delicious”.

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  • This looks gooooooooood.

  • sawyer

    whenever i read your blog, i feel like i’m looking at a foreign exotic world of the rich and famous in la. lol no joke mang that cheese plate + floral honey sounds really good though. guess i’ll go searchin around the burbs and see where i can get me a cheese plate

  • Fermin Romero

    I love Oliverio. Every time I am in LA I make it a point to at least have a lunch there. The menu is fantastic and the atmosphere is exactly what I would expect from such a chic venue. Highly recommended.http://www.avalonbeverlyhills.com/dining/oliverio.html

  • Waffles

    ok… i’ll give avalon another chance. nice write up tc

  • ohhhh i love happy hora! especially good ones!
    .-= bagnatic´s last blog ..eat my blog! =-.

  • The octopus looks incredible! It looks perfectly grilled. And I would have gone crazy over the prosciutto plate!

  • James K.

    I wanna try their buffalo burger! looks so juicy! how do you guys cook buffalo meat perfectly? I need to go and try this place out.

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