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Amarone's Two Star Taste of Italy on Sunset, J.Gold on Soup Dumpling Bliss at Shanghai Bamboo House

1) Amarone: It's been some time since we heard even a mention of Amarone on Sunset, SIV notes that this spot "slip[ed] through the cracks without a full review," when it opened three years back, so here now, her word.

"When I went back recently I found a restaurant that, despite being on a gritty block, really does feel like a little neighborhood place in Italy. It's in the flavors of Emilia-Romagna on the plate and in the efficient yet warm service...It's also in the look and feel of the place, a narrow storefront with just four tables in the tiny front dining room and a handful more upstairs on a mezzanine accessed by a steep staircase. Pretty or stylish it isn't...Amarone has the cluttered, lived-in look of countless little restaurants and trattorias in Italy."

Before even getting to the food, SIV pipes up about the restaurant's "serious" wine list, bottles for the deep-pocketed, but also "quite a few interesting wines under $50." Sher loves the restaurant's "real" Bolognese which she deems "terrific," and gnocchi cloaked in Taleggio is "one of the better gnocchi dishes [she's] had in L.A." As for entrees, they are "limited and mostly classics" and for dessert Sher actually recommends the tiramisu which is "less sweet than most." After a non-stellar first experience three years ago, SIV returns to appoint the twospot to Amarone for the taste (and feel) of Italy on a gritty Sunset block. [LAT]

2) Shanghai Bamboo House: The Goldster discovers a bevy of delights today at Shanghai Bamboo House in Monrovia. He rejoices in finding a favorite, difficult to find dish of wildflowers or "boltonia, " tofu rolls are a hit, braised squash with tiny shrimp also on point, and many many more winners here. But, the one dish not to miss are the restaurant's " xiao long bao...so good that I almost couldn't believe it the first time I had them — much thicker-skinned than their Din Tai Fung counterparts but also more flavorful, fat with hot juice, the minced pork inside fluffy and light where it is usually a meaty clump." And just as a side note, this restaurant is somewhat hidden and difficult to find (so plan accordingly), and the staff doesn't really speak much English. Nonetheless, "the service tends to be deft and caring...Not everybody who comes into the restaurant is Chinese, but they are all treated as if they are, and sometimes that's all you can ask." [LAW]

The Elsewhere: The Find tries Asian fusion fare at Omar's Restaurant, The Minty dines at Little Next Door, Food Je T'Aime hits Test Kitchen for Ricardo Zarate, Kung Food Panda looks back on LudoBites 5.0, Deep End Dining chooses Michael's, and Refined Palate picks Spago.

Amarone

8868 West Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA 90069 Visit Website

Amarone

8868 W. Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90069

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