I was recently invited to sample some items off of the special San Gennaro Feast menu at Dominick’s, a West Hollywood institution since 1948. What started as a favorite to Frank Sinatra and members of the Rat Pack soon declined as the keys to Dominick’s passed from new owner to new owner. Dominick’s was almost lost to the memories of yesteryear, until Warner Ebbink and Brandon Boudet took it under their wings and brought it back to its former glory.
Walking through the cottage-like restaurant I felt instantly transported back to another era. “This is SO cute!” I kept exclaiming to the hostess as she led me out to an even cuter brick patio in the back. Complete with fireplace, chalkboard menu and hanging plants; it really captured how I imagine village bistros in Italy to look like.
I started my evening off with a nice drink. A decidedly tardy bus, conflicting directions by colorful locals and searing hot temperatures made this refreshing cocktail all the more appreciated and savored.
Leslie, my contact, was adamant about ordering the rice balls and it’s no wonder why; with mushrooms, rich mozzerella cheese and a perfectly golden crispy exterior. I could snack on these all the live-long day. My favorite rice balls, hands down.
Naturally sweet and savory, this is a generously portioned side dish to cut through the meat-laden menu.
A fantastically seasoned salad; great for summer nights or when you just need something green.
There are elements of New Orleans flare at Dominick’s and these crab cake fritters are a testimony that someone in that kitchen knows what they’re doing when they tackle crab. A generous dunk in the roasted garlic aioli and I am in heaven.
I sort of chuckled when the server insisted on having us try a “meatball flight”; definitely not something I hear everyday. I’m not precisely a fan of meatballs, save for the homemade Bavarian or German kind that are drenched in cream sauce and served with noodles. Even those are getting too heavy for my stomach to take. I went with it, though, and gave them all a try. My favorite, surprisingly enough, was the chicken; it was light and easily managed. The other two were spicy in a way that I did not take to and just overall not my cup of tea. For the meatball connoisseur, though, this is probably right up your alley.
This is the famous meatball Dominick’s is know for, and definitely blew those fancy meatballs out of the water. I’d be hard pressed to order spaghetti and meatballs, but having tasted the speciality of the house now, I won’t hesitate to recommend it to all who inquired.
I sampled a few red wines before settling on this 2010 syrah called Hocus Pocus. I steer clear of heady, musty wines with a thick tannin flavoring and while this had a certain Autumnal must to it, I enjoyed it quite sincerely.
What is more primal than meat and cheese? Nothing, I tell you what. I was very grateful this San Gennaro Feast item came in a modest portion because it is the kind of food too rich to handle in large quantities. Utterly irresistible with fresh herbs and garlic to top it off.
I waffled between this and the chocolate panna cotta, going with the item my server suggested. This was a nice treat, but strangely out of place in an otherwise cohesive menu. I’ll go for the panna cotta next time around.
Whether you stop in to sample the San Gennaro fare or treat yourself and a loved one to dinner and drinks, it will never be a bad choice to swing by Dominick’s.
8715 Beverly Boulevard
West Hollywood, California 90048
Tel. (310) 652-2335
Open 5pm seven days a week
the food was complimentary, but all opinions and wording are my own.