7/17/2012 01:57:00 PM

Best Thing We Ate Last Night: DineLA Pasta at Hostaria del Piccolo

Faced with a daunting rush-hour commute from the Westside, we decided to wait it out and take advantage of DineLA Restaurant Week's first night. As we've said before, this is the best time to try a new restaurant, and so we did, opting for a $25 three-course menu at Hostaria del Piccolo, a bustling offshoot of the charming Piccolo in Venice. The menu didn't have as much variety as we'd like - two of three apps are soft polenta, and all three entrees are either pizza or pasta - and the service was average (entree came out while we were still working on apps), but for a simple rustic Italian meal, it did the trick.

Our salad of greens, tomatoes and almonds had a few gritty pieces of lettuce, otherwise it would've been a perfectly apt starter. We got the bowl of rigatoni with sausage, creamy tomato sauce and peas for an entree, which was as homey and comforting as can be. The house-made pasta was cooked just al dente enough, the sauce clinging to every curve. The tiramisu is probably one of the best we've tasted in town, too. We doubled the pricetag with a minty citrusy gin cocktail and glass of wine, but it was worth it. The specials might not be the best representation of what Hostaria can do, but it did get us in the door to see the space, feel the vibe, and look at the rest of the menu. And that's the point. DineLA continues through July 27.

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