From the moment you walk in you feel like family and that is just what Bruno and his wife Chef Cinzia Morra Brunelli meant for you to experience. Both from Napoli they really know how to make you feel right at home, and the food is as authentic as it gets.
This wonderful Italian restaurant is smack dab in everyone’s own back yard in the ever-growing Culver City restaurant area. It is in the artsy district right off of La Cienaga. You need look no further; if you want really great Italian food then Brunello Trattoria in is definitely the place for you.
I was there at 6:00 pm on a Sunday with the basketball playoffs playing on two flat screen TV’s above the bar. There were families and sports fans enjoying their dinner with the excitement of the game right overhead. The bar in the middle of the restaurant is large and inviting. They don’t have any hard spirits just wine and beer, but honestly you do not miss having alcohol. There is no background music, just happy loud voices of folks that are having a good time. Wood chairs, wood floors with white table cloths act as the backdrop for Brunello Trattoria’s glorious food. The interior space is sparse but elegant, with a big open kitchen that makes a huge statement.
Bruno and Cinzia met in Napoli, Bruno came to America in 1985 and she soon followed in 1987. Their American dream became a reality when they opened their first restaurant with Bruno’s parents, Osteria Dei Nonni, in 1987. It was located in Atwater Village and it became such a success that people lined up to get in. In 1989 Bruno opened up Da Pasquale with his two brothers, in Beverly Hills. Then came Brunello Trattoria which is going on 10 years of business. They have 2 children, a son and a daughter. Their son Daniele ventured out into opening another restaurant not to far from Brunello Trattoria. Bruno hand makes the pizza dough as well are their very warm crispy bread, both are just incredible, while Cinzia takes care of all the kitchen needs, including cooking.
Here’s What I Tried:
Carpaccio ai Carciofini with very thin slices of raw filet mignon topped with wild arugula, artichokes, shaved Parmesan cheese, lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil. The combination of the meat with the artichokes and arugula make one very unique Carpaccio.
Sautee ai Frutti di Mare Sautee of clams, mussels, shrimps, garlic, hot pepper, parsley and fresh tomatoes. The shellfish and shrimp are very fresh, and the sauce is very direct and simple.
Insalata di Cesare with romaine lettuce, croutons, Parmesan cheese and homemade Caesar dressing. Something about Chef Cinzia’s dressing, it has a bit of a sweet edge, nonetheless so delicious. I’m going to also add that the croutons are made from Bruno’s bread and they too create another amazing nuance to this fantastic salad.
Insalata di Gamberi with wild arugula, sautéed shrimp, tomato, cucumber, onions, Kalamata olives and goat cheese with a lemon garlic dressing. The garlic dressing makes this salad so elegant and the shrimp is butterflied to perfection.
Daniele with Prosciutto, mozzarella, ricotta, Parmesan cheese and basil. This pizza is very fragrant; the cheeses make this pizza fantastic.
Farfalle al Salmone with bow tie pasta, light cream sauce, pieces of fresh salmon shallots and hot pepper. Nice light pasta dish with the bits of salmon.
Borsettine ai Funghi with fresh pouch pasta stuffed with porcini mushrooms, light cream sauce, shallots, shiitake mushrooms, chopped tomato and a touch of truffle oil. This pasta is so delicate with these adorable little mushroom pouches, you will be so happy.
Braciolette di Pollo alla Daniele, with Roulée of chicken breast stuffed with prosciutto, marinated eggplant and smoked mozzarella in a Dijon mustard sauce. Served with spinach and roasted potatoes.
This dish is all about the sauce, creamy with hint of of Dijon mustard, a great menu option.
Pesce del Giorno Fish of the day. Stripped Sea Bass with carrot and spinach. They grilled the sea bass so you get that smoky flavor with every bite; the side of carrots is also spectacular.
They bring a whole tray of their lovely deserts; only thing not on the tray is their tiramisu, very old school.
Torta di Ricotta all Arancino Italian style cheesecake, with a delicate texture and hunt of citrus. A very nice ending to a remarkable dining experience.
Torta della Nonna, Short pastry base filled with cream a hint of lemon, topped with pine nuts and powdered sugar. Every Nonna makes a torta like this, but at Brunello Tratorria this torta is even more special.
Zardetto, Prosecco Birilli, Veneto, very light and refreshing.
Pinot Grigio, Masi, Masianco, Venetoo. I could not get enough of this wine, more like a light Chardonnay, fruity not acidic and was a great addition to any of the seafood dishes.
Chardonnay, Tollo, Abruzzi, I would drink this wine with the fresh fish; it rounds out all of the oak flavors in the grilled fish.
Sangiovese/Cabernet RemoleFrescobaldi. I loved this wine with the chicken and its Dijon sauce; it’s just the right wine for this dish. A nice dry wine that opens up with this wonderful food.
Cabernet Sauvignon, First Press, Napa Valley. This wine went great with the Carpaccio as well as the mushroom pasta, the wine stood up to both the meat and the mushrooms.
Their customers are a wide variety; families, locals, dates, and Bruno’s Italian buddies. It’s a wide demographic, with lots of interesting people to look at. Sitting behind me was a Chinese family, with both Grandparents and toddlers, all enjoying different pastas and the outcome of the Warriors / Cavaliers game. During my tasting it was still light out but come nightfall you can tell that this restaurant can be very romantic.
My waitress Alessandra was charming and also very Italian, she hails from Sienna, helping me along with my culinary journey.
When you come in the front door you’ll be welcomed by Bruno who looks like he just stepped out of a rock n’ roll heavy metal band, with his gracious smile and deep Italian voice. Like me you will feel as if your somewhere in Napoli in a very homespun Trattoria, but who needs to get on a plane when you have my newest best Italian food right in Culver City, the best foodies paradise in Los Angeles.
Lunch hours: Mon-Friday 11:30-3:00
Dinner hours: Tues-Thurs, Sun 5-9. Fri-Sat 5-10
6001 Washington Blvd Culver City, CA 90232
Phone (310) 280-3856 Fax (310) 280-9147