I talked 2 of my friends to come with me. The night before our reservation, I called and spoke to someone at the restaurant and made sure they had the Cavatelli Cacio e Pepe with baby calamari and marinated prawns. She must have looked at the menu, did not see it and came back saying "No, we don't." I asked her to speak with the manager or chef because it was advertised that it would be available for lunch from Feb.28 to March 4th. She came back on the line after checking with someone and happily told me they would have it for sure.
I drove the 3 of us to the Four Seasons Hotel and was impressed by the ambiance of the restaurant. Even their outdoor seating was impressive. We were handed the menu and I didn't see the special prix fixe nor did I see the Cacio e Pepe. I had to ask our waitress about it and only then did she give us the special menu. They must have had limited copies as she gave us 1 to share. I still did not see the cacio e pepe so I asked her about it. She looked at me like I was from Mars, then finally said she would ask the chef. As she turned to leave I gently grabbed her forearm as I wanted to ask her something else. She gave me the dirtiest look as if saying: "How dare you touch me". My two friends were shocked at her behavior. Could that have been sexual harassment, I wonder. She came back with the Italian Chef as she probably didn't want to deal with us anymore. Sous Chef Allasio was the nicest man, asked us how we would like our cacio e pepe. Mertz didn't want any seafood, Sandi only wanted the shrimp and I told him I would have it the way he normally prepares it with baby octopus and shrimps. He was more than happy to oblige.
We also decided to order from the regular menu. Caesar salad and the beet salad would be a good introduction to our pasta. At this point, a very nice gentleman named Jorge was all of a sudden our waiter. He took our order and he was the total opposite of Ms. Prissy. I asked him what Ms. Prissy's problem was and he just told me not to worry about it. He was also diplomatic. The three of us ordered a glass of Prosecco which made put us in a merrier mood. We did enjoy the salads.
We got Chef Vito Mollica's specialty dish; the Cavatelli Cacio e Pepe with baby calamari and marinated prawns or at least, I did. Mertz had hers without any seafood and Sandi had hers with shrimps. The cavatelli was absolutely delicious. We all loved our respective cacio e pepes. I was blown away by the most tender and succulent shrimps and baby calamari which was equally tender. Sandi and I both thought that the cavatelli was a perfect choice of pasta instead of the traditional spaghetti. It could have had a bit more pepper but that's better than having too much like I had at Osteria Mozza recently wherein too much pepper ruined it as I could hardly taste the cheese or the pasta. Like I always said, it is not easy to perfect this simple dish. Chef Vito Mollica nailed and perfected this dish!
Everyone was full but it was unanimous that we had to order dessert. We could not agree on what to share so we all ordered our very own dessert. Mertz had the Tiramisu with meringue, I had a bite and it was as good as the ones we had in Rome. Sandi ordered something else but got the Chocolate Molten Cake. Jorge apologized and was going to get her what she ordered but since it looked good, she decided to make a sacrifice; it is Lent after all. She ended up liking it (not much of a penance).
I ordered the Affogato with cotton candy. We were all impressed with the presentation of this affogato. Jorge poured something on it and the cotton candy flattened like a souffle. It was divine. All that strong coffee, probably espresso with vanilla gelato. It was served with 2 cookies studded with pine nuts. Even the cookies were super delicious, chewy and nutty. FYI, the desserts were all from the regular menu.
Chef Allasio came out one more time to ask us if we liked our dishes. We were too full to give him a standing ovation. He was nice enough to sit next to us and pose for a picture. He was sure to let Chef Vito know how very pleased we were with the Cavatelli.
A note to the manager, Mr. Vahdani, Director of Food and Beverage: Jorge our server was gracious and professional, in our opinion a very valued employee. He should be training other servers. When we come back I will make sure he is working that evening.
Culina at the Four Seasons Hotel is located at 300 South Doheny Drive in Los Angeles.