Every Wednesday night at Alto Palato in West Hollywood, chef Roberto Perotti prepares a three-course regional menu. The cost is just $25 per person. Ordering the evening's menu also gets you 40% off on any bottle of wine, so drink up. That bottle of Barolo won't set you back much more than a good Chianti Classico on a normal night.
Since there are 23 regions in Italy--and few people have visited or can even name more than a handful, it will take close to half a year before they begin to repeat. And by the time the Marche or Sardegna roll around again, Perotti will be cooking a different menu anyway.
He himself is from Piedmont, home to the regal red wines Barolo and Barbaresco, the fabled white truffle and--as he would no doubt tell you--some of the best cooking in all of Italy.
Modestly, the young Italian-born chef didn't begin the series with Piedmont; his home region doesn't roll around until March 19. In recent weeks, he cooked a menu from Liguria (fresh calamari in mushroom and tomato sauce, trenette al pesto, and rabbit stewed with olives, walnuts and red wine "San Remo style") I'm sorry to have missed.
I finally made it in for Trentino Alto Adige night. The menu from the mountainous region close to the Alps and to Austria, hence the Austro-Hungarian influence in the cooking, began with salcrauto e salsiccia all' Altesina (a delicious sweet-sour sauerkraut with house-smoked sausage). Then came canederli alla Triestina (tender bread-and-salami gnocchi sauced with beef ragu), and finally spezzatino di vitello alla Bolzanese (veal stew with paprika). It's quite a deal for $25. And, hey, I won't have to use up all my frequent flier miles to get there.
Coming up: Basilicata, Feb. 26; Friuli Venezia Giulia, March 5; Valle d'Aosta, March 12; and Veneto, March 26. Call or pick up a schedule at the restaurant.
Alto Palato, 755 N. La Cienega, Los Angeles, (310) 657-9271. Open seven days for dinner, Friday and Saturday for lunch. Major credit cards accepted. Valet parking.