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IN THE MOOD

Rabbit

March 12, 1998

Rabbit, both farm-raised and wild, is finding its way onto more and more menus in Los Angeles. The meat is mild, succulent, low in fat and, in the right hands, quite delicious.

* Drago: Celestino Drago makes the classic winter dish of pappardelle al ragu di lepre, a wide, ribbon-like pasta with long-simmered rabbit. (Pappardelle, $13.) Drago, 2628 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, (310) 828-1585.

* Bistro Provencal: Jean Francois Meteigner's casual new bistro serves potato gnocchi with farm-raised rabbit in a mixed basil sauce with spinach and oven-dried tomato. (Gnocchi and rabbit, $15.) Bistro Provencal, 829 N. La Cienega, West Hollywood, (310) 360-9064.

* Pastis: This trusty neighborhood bistro offers civet de lapin, rabbit that's braised in red wine with wild mushrooms and lardons (bacon chunks) and served with crispy polenta. (Rabbit, $16.) Pastis, 8114 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, (213) 655-8822.

* Posto: Luciano Pellegrini makes his own rabbit sausage, which he serves with a baked onion, polenta croutons and braised cabbage--it's an entree at lunch, an appetizer at night. Also at dinner, there's rabbit loin that's been infused with garlic, wrapped in bacon and grilled; it comes with a dipping sauce of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and shallots. (Rabbit sausage, appetizer, $9; entree, $18. Grilled rabbit loin, $21.50.) Posto, 14928 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, (818) 784-4400.

* Cafe Beaujolais: This pretty and civilized new restaurant in Eagle Rock serves lapin saute chasseur, rabbit baked with white wine, mushrooms and tomatoes and served with polenta. (Baked rabbit, $9.95.) Cafe Beaujolais, 1712 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock, (213) 255-5111.

* Vincenti: A tied roast of rabbit with both light and dark meat is often one of the rotisseried meats at this elegant new Brentwood Italian. (Rotisseried meats, $25.) Vincenti Ristorante, 11930 San Vicente Blvd., Brentwood, (310) 207-0127.

* Mimosa: Chef Jean Pierre Bosc is presently cooking rabbit a la moutarde--rabbit in a mustard sauce served on fettuccine. (Rabbit with fettuccine, $17.) Mimosa, 8009 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, (213) 655-8895.

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