Fabrocini's - 18608 Ventura Bl., Tarzana (818) 342-4490
(Italian food, casual dining, mid-priced)
We were seated at the only available table, below one of their wine racks, then teased with the aroma of garlic wafting from the kitchen. Weak under garlic's spell, we decided to get the calamari fritto before dessert.
While nibbling on the rosemary flavored bread, I was asked twice by waiters to reach for bottles of wine behind me, "Could you please hand me a bottle of Ruffino?" "And that Portofino...no..up..up...to the right."
So expect when seated below a wine rack at Fabrocini's your assistance will likely be needed. For me, it just added to the character of the place, right along with the chefs in their high, white hats working over pans of sizzling food - visible over the open counter.
After reaching for wine bottles, I began telling my husband my thoughts on time travel, which he didn't find very interesting.(If you want to read only about food, please skip this portion.)
Me: If it were possible to go back in time to save a person, who would've died otherwise, then that "saved" person's existence would effect millions of people - just by walking too slowly in a cross walk this person might cause a driver -waiting for him to pass - to enter into a coffee shop thirty seconds later than he would've if not for the pedestrian...thirty seconds too late to meet the woman he would have married otherwise. Just think, if I hadn't met Jennifer who introduced me to Paul who became my roommate in Orange County, where I moved and found a job at Holiday Spa - then I wouldn't have met Daisy who let me sleep on her boyfriend's couch after I moved out of Orange County- and I would have never have met her sister Norca who became my roommate, then dragged me to that party where I met you...and our daughter wouldn't exist. That doesn't interest you?
(This conversation was prompted by A Discovery Channel program on time travel which featured a quantum physicist who, as a child, wanted to travel back in time to save his father who died early in the physicist's life.)
Well, back to the calamari fritto; though my husband and I couldn't agree on the time travel-fate thing, we both agreed the calamari was the best we've had in a very long time - so fresh it could've come right from the ocean, jumped in the pan and appeared on our table. Not at all chewy, perfectly seasoned, crisp, golden breading coated the calamari, which came with a really tasty, nicely spiced tomato dipping sauce. Delicious!
After our fabulous evening snack, we ordered the tiramisu, which is so good I often drive out of my way just to get a few orders as take-out. I've had a lot of tiramisu and Fabrocini's is some of the best - light, with layers of sweet, creamy marscapone, on feathery lady fingers, soaked in liquor and espresso, then dusted and drizzled with chocolate. The only other tiramisu this good, I ate in North Beach in San Francisco, years ago.
Tuesday night was only the second time we sat down at Fabrocini's - referred by the rave reviews from our friend Doug - and plan on returning to try other dishes on their menu. If the rest of the food is anything like the calamari and tiramisu, we'll be dining well.
P.S. We went back last night (Friday), while the calamari was good, but it was chewier than before, though still tasty. This time my husband and I both ordered the shrimp scampi, and really enjoyed it. The shrimp were plump and perfectly cooked until tender, not over done; the garlic-basil sauce poured over the spaghetti and shrimp was real tasty.
The darned bread and calamari were so good, my husband was full by the time the scampi arrived - but not too full for tiramisu.