CULINA, MODERN ITALIAN: A NEIGHBORHOOD RESTAURANT
IN THE HEART OF LOS ANGELES
Italian dining in Four Seasons Hotel offers a lively, independent vibe with its informal ambience and exemplary cuisine
LOS ANGELES (March 2, 2010) – Capturing the cosmopolitan ethos of Los Angeles, Culina, Modern Italian presents a chic destination where sophisticated cuisine and levity join hands. Culina – from the Latin word for “kitchen” – showcases the intersection of traditional and modern Italian cuisine with a menu guided by exceptional ingredients. Located at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, this insouciant restaurant managed by the hotel offers the best of Four Seasons service while forging its own fashionable, independent spirit. Guests can linger over small plates and wine, enjoy the energy of an authentic crudo bar, or settle in for a night of superior dining in the garden. Set amid a stunning indoor-outdoor design that melds simplicity with elegance, Culina is destined to become one of “the” places to dine in Los Angeles.
While based on the seasonality vital to authentic Italian cuisine, Culina’s bright menu introduces modern techniques and preferences that lend lightness to each dish. Central Coast produce and proteins pair with the artisanal specialties only Italy can deliver, such as Parmigiano Reggiano and prosciutto. Aged balsamic vinegars, with their aromatic woody essence, are procured direct from Modena, while first press olive oils are bottled by Monini of Umbria under Culina’s own, exclusive label which is also available for purchase at the restaurant.
Antipasti selections introduce each meal and include the finest salumi sliced to order; Burrata di Stefano served with peperonata, “Manni” extra virgin olive oil from Tuscany (considered one of the world’s finest) and sea salt; and a modern take on Polipo (baby octopus) cooked sous vide style, then grilled and served with frisee, fingerling potatoes, guanciale (pork jowels), sous vide egg and rosemary vinaigrette. Adjacent to the bar, one of Los Angeles’ only “live action” crudo bars provides an energized focal point for the restaurant, serving specialties of simply garnished, raw seafood preparations from the Mediterranean: Gamberetti Marinati (marinated shrimp) with lemon oil, basil, Italian parsley and peperoncino; or Cappesante (Maine scallop) with black truffle and lemon oil.
Pastas are made in-house daily and blended with robust flavors to create new iterations of classics. Standouts include Spaghetti alla Chittara braised in San Marzano tomato sauce with peperoncino, then tossed with fresh basil; and Pappardelle prepared with a slow-cooked lamb ragu tossed with fresh mint and pecorino. Brick ovens bake Culina’s house-made, paper-thin pizzas to crispy perfection, with menu offerings combining classic Italian greats with updated, modern pies. Simply grilled fish and meat entrées showcase the finest cuts available through delicate preparations. Culina’s signature Lombatina Capricciosa (breaded veal chop) is coated with ciabatta crumbs and lightly crisped, then topped with a simple salad of wild arugula, tomatoes, lemon vinaigrette and Parmigiano Reggiano. Similarly honest in flavor and method, Bistecca alla Fiorentina for two delivers 28 ounces of prime T-bone steak alongside Tuscan fries and salsa verde.
Pastry Chef Federico Fernandez brings a kindred philosophy-of-purity to Culina’s dessert line up. Traditional Tiramisu is topped with a simple, yet whimsical puff of cocoa snow and a crispy coffee bean meringue; and Cannolis find a lighter side with olive oil gelato filling and crystallized pistachios.
Culina’s carefully composed wine list will feature over 200 labels, with a vast percentage representing Italy’s finest. A majority of selections may be ordered as a carafe, and a rotating menu of 12 will be offered by the glass each night. The majority of the list will fall under $100. A range of unique aperitifs; dessert wines like Vin Santo paired with cantucci for dipping; digestifs like grappa; and an Italian-themed cocktail list featuring Italy’s favorite liqueurs will round out the beverage offerings.
The restaurant’s urbane yet rustic space is the creation of EDG Interior Architecture + Design, whose old-world enoteca theme (local urban wine shop) manifests in smart details: wine tasting tables of 200-year-old magnolia; artisanal product displays; herringbone tile floors; and charcoal-toned plaster walls with accents of chartreuse and deep green. Table tops of olive-wood finish look artful in their crisp simplicity, minimally clad with white placemats and napkins, functional flatware and amber water glasses specially designed for Culina. The chic and personable staff has been meticulously trained to possess every detail, from subtle ingredients to unpretentious wine tips.
Entering Culina’s vibrant world, guests are drawn into the convivial bar area with its interactive crudo bar and inviting lounge. Servers offer espresso, pastries and paninis, as guests relax over daily newspapers, small plates of antipasti or full meals from the menu. Across from the bar there are three communal tables made from a salvaged 200 year-old magnolia tree and a wine room that displays its ample stock through windows etched with hand-written Italian recipes. In the main dining area, a 25-foot light fixture of hand-blown Czechoslovakian glass traverses the ceiling, and vast picture windows welcome in Southern California’s eternal sunshine. A unique, glass-enclosed room can seat 10 for tasting menus while a private room accommodates up to 40. Both bar and dining areas cascade out into the garden, with half of the restaurant’s 236 seats embracing LA’s patio lifestyle. Here, a “living wall” of succulents and a modern fire-and-water fountain set the stage for al fresco dining or casual lounging under a semi-private canopy.
With its understated elegance, Culina provides a destination at once cultured and of-the-moment, where local fashionistas and international visitors can wine, dine, see and be seen over some of Los Angeles’ best Italian food.
Culina, Modern Italian, located at 300 South Doheny Drive in Los Angeles, California, is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For more information, please visit www.culinarestaurant.com.
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