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The Review: Osteria La Buca adjusts to life without mama

January 13, 2010 |  8:00 am


Osteria La Buca, the once-tiny buca, or "hole in the wall," near Paramount Studios in Hollywood, expanded up and sideways two and a half years ago, all the while offering the same pasta-focused menu that made this casual osteria a neighborhood favorite. A recent upset, though, has resulted in co-owner Filippo Corvino and his mother, Loredana, who had been the chef, leaving the business. Since her cooking defined La Buca in the early days, when the dining room consisted of a handful of cramped tables, what does that mean for the 5-year-old restaurant?

Well, it turns out life goes on, and so does La Buca. The new chef is Piedmontese-born Alberto Lazzarino, who started in L.A. at the late Mauro Vincenti's Rex and Alto Palato, then cooked at Piccolo Ristorante in Venice before opening his own place, Melograno, in Hollywood. That excellent restaurant closed last year, a victim of bad location and the economy.

In only a few months, though, Lazzarino has made an impact at La Buca. He's kept a few of La Buca's classics, in some cases tweaking the recipes, and added new dishes of his own. In general, his cooking here is much less elaborate than what he was doing at Melograno. La Buca is an osteria, after all, a casual spot for eating and drinking. And most osterias are inexpensive. (Osteria Mozza is the exception.)

To read the rest of S. Irene Virbila's review, click here.

Photo: The ciccolina at Osteria La Buca. Credit: Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times