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Week in Reviews: E. Baldi, Blue Velvet, Bistro K, and More

Sorry for the delay this morning, dear readers. We've had Internet issues all morning. Back to our regularly scheduled programming...

Miss Irene seems almost irate about pricing policies at newcomer E. Baldi, born of Giorgio Baldi fame (literally? Giorgio Baldi's son runs it). The 'tude she experienced on one of her first visits obviously marred any future ones, and she gives the Beverly Hills Italian spot one-and-a-half stars. E. Baldi follows the old adage that if you have to ask, you can't afford it; so she asked, and warns us that they charge $90 for a truffle pasta special and $40 corkage. Restaurateurs, take note: Someone in Miss Irene's crew almost always brings wine, so work on those corkage policies if you don’t want to piss her off. And pissed off she was:

E. Baldi has the virtue of being the new Italian kid on the block right now, but to hang on to the heart of Beverly Hills' Italophiles, a stark minimalist look and supple ravioli may not be enough once the novelty wears off. Some bad restaurant habits, such as not informing guests just how much the specials are or urging customers to order truffles for an undisclosed amount, signal loud and clear that E. Baldi is more interested in wringing every possible dollar from guests than in true hospitality. What this newcomer lacks is a sense of generosity. If the Baldis would drop the hauteur and concentrate on warm-hearted, authentic Italian cooking, it could be a star on Cañon Drive.
Miss Irene said something else that caught our attention, that E. Baldi is "better than it needs to be for a celebrity spot." Dana Harris, editor of The Knife, said almost exactly the same thing when we asked about the Biggest Dining Surprise of '06 in December.

Read on for more Elsewhere...

Elsewhere, LA.com checks out Blue Velvet downtown and SUR in WeHo; Potatomato binges at Mozza, Axe, and Phillips BBQ; Merrill Schindler dances at Sevilla in Long Beach, and Tokyoastrogirl is crazy about Bistro K.

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