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Week In Reviews: Angelini Osteria, Buenos Aires Grill, Chaya Brasserie, Food Court, Square One and MORE

S. Irene Virbila revisits Anglini Osteria, Gino Angelini's casual Italian eatery that made waves when it opened in 2001. It was rustic, inexpensive, casual, stylish; and it still is for the most part, as Miss Irene carefully notes for the good first half of her review. But something's missing:

But on this and on some other recent visits, the food, I'm sorry to say, isn't nearly as good as it used to be. Gino Angelini is cooking mostly at La Terza now, and without the master chef's steady presence, or someone as capable at the helm, the kitchen often loses its focus.

A special pizza bianca with sausage and mushrooms doesn't have enough cheese to weld the toppings to the surface of the dough, and they fall off when you try to eat a slice. An octopus dish is mushy, either overcooked or not the same high grade served at other restaurants around town...The plating can be sloppy too. Angelini's wonderfully earthy dish of tripe simmered in tomato sauce is still very good, but what's that big ugly cuttlefish doing splayed in the middle of the plate? Who thought this was so dashing?

Also noting that prices are higher, the food is hit or miss, service has gone from "warm and professional" to "brusque and charming," and the Mozzas and All' Angelo both nearby, Miss Irene practically asks: So why go? She really liked Angelini Osteria when it opened, giving it two-and-a-half stars; now it's stripped down to one-and-a-half stars. Today the "S." stands for "slipshod." If you're interested, Miss Irene's first review of Angelini Osteria. [LAT]

ELSEWHERE: Northridge's Buenos Aires Grill serves a rockin' parridilla; Chaya Brasserie good lunch alternative to The Grill; Square One Dining still serves a mean breakfast; Madeline Bistro is a Tarzana oasis; Food Court, not so much; Cinco de Mayo has bigger menu, smaller lines next door to Tito's.

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