Vitello’s encore

“Great Food & Drinks,” you know what, I agree, tonight was my first visit to Vitello’s since several years ago when a parking attendant told me to go eat someplace else. This was due to my policy of not giving my keys to complete strangers and much of the time unlicensed foreigners and hopes of getting it back in the same condition as I am leaving it.

A little background, a few weeks ago I get a call from Holly Foster Wells, VP of Peggy Lee Associates, LLP. Oh by the way, Holly is also Miss Lee’s granddaughter. Miss Lee was one of my best friends and I spent many holidays with her and the family. And later in life, we were her personal security and at times I was her personal body guard…it was the best of times! Ok, back to the story, Holly calls and tells me that Stacy Sullivan is going to do a tribute of Miss Lee’s music on August 2, and would I like to attend? I ask where? “At Vitello’s,“ well anyplace and anyone doing anything about Miss Lee, if I can, I will be there.

First thing I do is call Matt Epstein and ask if he remembers me? After a short reminder he recalls my last write up on DESPERATEEXES.com about his new restaurant (not so good). I ask that I have a booth and that I will be bringing three guests. Upon arrival, I am once again told that “NO, you cannot self park”, again by some former taxi driver from Beirut. Not a problem, this is almost a repeat of my first visit, I even tell him, “Matt Epstein said that I could park my own car“…”not here” was the response. Obviously Vitello’s does not own the parking lot attached to its building.

Well we find off street parking and go into the “New” Vitello’s, WOW, the place is totally changed from the musty, fowl spaghetti dungeon it once was, to a very upbeat place to be! We are shown upstairs and already everyone is there, all of my old friends from the years of hanging out at Miss Peggy Lee’s mansion in Bel Air. The upstairs is incredible, there is not a bad seat in the place! We have an incredible booth to the right as you walk in. The lights and staging are very cool and again, there is not a bad seat in the place. The staff is as accommodating as they can possibly be. We order appetizers of nicely fried shrimp and other seafood, it is hot and served with a delicious tartar sauce for dipping.

We also order some very tasty little pizzas that arrive just perfect, thin and full of flavor. Caesar Salads are ordered for all of us and the romaine is cold and the dressing is done right, I require anchovies and they too arrive cold…very nice!? I order the Rack of Lamb, my guest order strip steak and one orders Salmon (I find this fish boring, no matter were it is served). The lamb and the reduction sauce is perfect, I am picking it up by the bone and loving every bite, I will have pleasant dreams of the reduction sauce, it was as good as it gets. The steaks? served perfect, medium well, a slight pink and cooked just as we ordered, we are all in the land of good cooking. The Salmon…fish, enough said
[this is my thought of salmon any time).

Stacy Sullivan’s take on the stories and music of Miss Peggy Lee is right on target. The sound the lighting all of it was just as good as it can get and then out of no where Vitello’s tiramisu and CANNOLI is on the table, like it came from heaven…these are my top two favorite deserts, Eclairs are a close tie. It becomes very obvious that these are made fresh…Peggy Lee songs being sung by Stacy Sullivan and CANNOLI, had this been my last meal, it would have been just fine with me! Stacy also has some of Miss Lee’s hand gestures down pretty good, Stacy nails it. All of this makes me reflect on how much I miss my friend Miss Peggy Lee, those were the days for me!

Vitello’s is a place that if you have not been you need to go, the place was packed on a Thursday night and the food, right on! Be sure to say hello to Lisa, this evening’s manager, her energy is contagious and Matt’s partner Brad Roen is also there. Remember what I always tell you, when you go to a restaurant and the owner is there this is a step in the right direction to an evening of good food and that is what we got this evening at Vitello’s, 4349 Tujunga Ave. Studio City, Ca. 91604 818-769-0905. Ask for Brad or Lisa and tell them that John Nazarian suggested you stop by for some great food and a wonderful evening, you won’t be sorry.

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