Since Dine LA is now two weeks twice a year, I get to enjoy even more places for great prices. I have been wanting to try Ago for ages, since it completes the triangle of the wonderful neighboring restaurants Comme Ca and Taste.
Walking into the beautiful space, I felt welcome and comfortable with indoor and patio spaces that are equally enticing. I chose the patio since it was a beautiful day to enjoy the sun after days of rain. The busboy was immediately at my table offering bottled water or wine. When I asked for the wine list, he handed me the BOTTLE list (for a table of one?). When my waiter Andrea arrived, I told him I wanted to see the wines by the glass list and he said there wasn't one, would I like red or white? I declined since no mention was ever made of the kind of white or red being served. No specials were ever mentioned, even though I heard them explained to another table dining next to me; I guess solo diners are not expected to want anything special, but they are expected to order a bottle of wine.
Since I had come for Dine LA and the waiter only offered the standard menu to me, I asked to see the menu (not given to me) and he handed me the Dine LA Dinner menu. When I ordered off the Dine LA Dinner menu, he apologized and said, "Sorry." After I ordered off the correct menu, he left and I did not see him again until I was done with my entree course because his attention was fixated on the celebrity who had walked in after I ordered. He was so distracted that when he finally did ask me how my meal was, he was still turned towards the celebrity as he was asking me the question.
I started with the Piccola Parmigiana which looked appetizing but was more flour than eggplant and sadly dry. The nicest thing I can say about this dish is that it was nicely flavored with basil.
The main course of Caldo Mare was probably the best seafood salad in a lemon vinaigrette I have ever eaten. The calamari were exquisitely tender, the clams and mussels tasted fresh, and the shrimp were cooked with a gentle hand.
For dessert I chose the pineapple sorbet, which came in a hollowed out pineapple. It was a perfect light ending to my meal.
With four days left to Dine LA, I would try another restaurant or go back to an old favorite before returning here. I would return just for the Caldo Mare, after definitely specifying that I wanted another server if Andrea is assigned to my table.
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