La Sosta Enoteca — Hermosa Beach, CA
Posted by Shannon on 05/08/2012
My boyfriend left on an 8-day tour through New Mexico and Texas last month, leaving me with the apartment all to myself. While having the apartment to myself had its upsides:
- Watching reality TV without groaning in the background
- Wearing horribly mismatched sleep clothes around the house
- Spreading out like a starfish to take up the whole bed when I slept
- Unleashing my OCD-clean-freak tendencies on the apartment for a full eight days…
Being away from you significant other for more than a week also has drawbacks, that can make you miss them terribly:
- Walking into a dead silent (albeit OCD-ly clean) apartment after work
- Sitting at the dinner table eating meals solo, or having no one to say “sweet dreams” to before falling asleep
- No one to laugh with and re-cap the odd/enraging/monotonous events of the day
Needless to say, by the time he got back on a Saturday evening, I was very much ready to surprise him with a special dinner out so we could reconnect and talk about the tour and things that had happened back here at home over those last eight days. I booked a reservation at Hermosa Beach’s La Sosta Enoteca. I have wanted to go here since I heard about it during my first year living in California, but the timing and appropriate dining partner never aligned. The Italian restaurant is self-described as:
“A place to experience Italian food in a new, yet familiar way while indulging in the pleasures of authentic tastes and welcoming atmosphere. We cook from our memories and from our hearts.”
Our server that night (as well as the owner) are from Italy, and put great consideration into the details of the roughly 12-table restaurant. Once seated, we glanced through their binder full of wine offerings, settling on a bottle of wine from an estate in Sicily, Feudo Principi di Butera. Our waiter presented the bottle, poured a sample for Steve to try and confirm, then brought a bucket of ice to the table to keep it appropriately chilled.
Our first course was the Il Tagliere, Italian for” cutting board.” It was a no-brainer for me after having stalked the restaurant reviews/photos on Yelp! over the past three years, as well as recommending this location to a few friends and having them report back their findings. The board came with a selection of cheese and cold cuts imported from Italy. Truffle honey was my favorite part of the board, paired with the blue cheese selection on a piece of freshly baked bread.
For our second course, we selected the Gnocchi Allastice, homemade gnocchi with lobster. My first bite erased all the terribly heavy, doughy, chewy gnocchi I’ve ever tasted before. The little pillows of pasta dough were even lighter than a piece of fresh burrata. The lobster and sauce that accompanied it truly had the perfect ratio, neither overpowering the other’s texture or flavor.
The third and final course was Branzino al Forno, baked Mediterranean sea bass. I appreciated the presentation of the pasta and this fish, because they are single dishes that La Sosta Enoteca split and (beautifully) plated for us since we were sharing both dishes.
The fish was so tender that I won’t even use the word ‘flaky’. The cauliflower and beans that came with it were great additions that highlighted the fish but again, didn’t step overshadow the main component of the dish.
The table service was also notable, the silverware and plates were changed three times, the pace of the dishes was great because our server paid attention to when we were about to finish a course, and the wine and water unobtrusively refilled at just the right moments. When we were ready to leave, the bill was paired with a pair of complimentary two-bite chocolate-covered cream puffs. Heaven.