Danilo Terribili is back, this time at the new A1 Cucina Italiana
Giacomino Drago, youngest brother of Celestino Drago, has had Il Buco Ristorante on Robertson Boulevard at Wilshire since 1998. Now the chef wants to devote more of his time to the Japanese restaurant he’s about to open in Beverly Hills and has tapped Danilo Terribili, who co-owned and ran the late and much-missed Alto Palato on La Cienega Boulevard, to take over the restaurant. Terribili will become the managing partner.
Terribili, who is also involved in Spark Woodfire Grill, has been itching to get back into an Italian restaurant and this is his chance. He’s recruited Alto Palato’s old chef Fredy Escobar to head up the kitchen.
The restaurant will be renamed A1 Cucina Italiana after the crowded A1 autostrada that rolls from Milan through Florence and Rome to Naples. Sunday is the last day of Il Buco. The sign goes up Monday, and A1 will debut on March 1st.
"The cooking will be very simple, very traditional and very reasonably priced," he says. "The most expensive entree will be $23. We're going to have daily specials, too, such as trippa alla Romana [tripe with tomatoes, mint and pecorino] on Monday, and porchetta on Saturday."
As for pasta, he cites spaghetti alla chitarra (square spaghetti) in a very simple tomato garlic sauce with fiore sardo sheep's milk cheese from Sardinia shaved over the top as one of his favorites. Also, the chef has been making pappardelle with Neapolitan-style lamb ragu. He starts with a little onion, adds a huge piece of lamb and lets it cook for a few minutes, sweats it in red wine, and then covers the meat with tomato sauce and lets it cook for at least five hours until it's falling off the bone. At that point, the meat is hand-chopped and added back into the ragu.
A1 Cucina Italiana will serve lunch Monday to Friday and dinner daily. Call (310) 657-1345 for a reservation.
-- S. Irene Virbila
Photos: Top: A1 Cucina Italiana interior. Credit: Danilo Terribili. Bottom: Porchetta. Credit: Rocco Ceselin for A1 Cucina Italiana.