The Other Critics

Virbila Venerates Vic Casanova’s Gusto; Gold Pleasantly Unchallenged By Maison Giraud

Menu at Gusto
Menu at Gusto Photo: Tatiana Arbogast

Italian-enthusiast S. Irene Virbila calls Victor Casanova’s Gusto “a terrific cozy Italian restaurant” that cares more for heart than any trend that’s sweeping Third Street. She also calls the 35-year-old with the “unforgettable” name “young,” which makes us feel all good and vigorous on the inside. The place is slammed, the pizza “very good,” the sweetbread Milanese heads “uptown,” and his hand-made pastas are divine. Overall, Casanova is offering “some of the best Italian cooking L.A. has seen in a long, long while.” Oh, and Larry Flynt was there one night with his limo driver. Neither the materialization of a pornograher nor the noisy room sway Sherry’s affections away from the “homey” restaurant excelling in braciole that also nails dessert, ending with the endorsement that “even the affogato is made with Intelligentsia espresso.” [LAT]

Munching on “the best crossaints in L.A.”, Jonathan Gold notes that, “a trip to the Palisades market is basically an excuse to linger on the patio of Maison Giraud,” where pastry chef Noubar Yessayan could either be nominated “for sainthood” or accused of saddling the neighborhood with “those stubborn last 3 pounds.” Recalling Alain Giraud’s days at Citrus, when he “introduced Angelenos to beef cheeks,” Gold recounts the myriad contributions made by the French chef to L.A. dining. But Maison Giraud’s kitchen can be “haphazard” and inconsistent, Gold writes, noting that his disappointment as the chef is “one of the few…in Los Angeles capable of commanding a large, accomplished kitchen, of producing haute cuisine.” Still, while he enjoys soaking in the “airy restaurant,” he finds the food “is challenging neither to eat nor to produce. It is good, but it is hard not to expect more.” But when you get another bite of Giraud’s proprietary lavender vacherin glace, “you are unlikely to hold out for a more sophisticated dessert.” [LAT]

Virbila Venerates Vic Casanova’s Gusto; Gold Pleasantly Unchallenged By Maison