Eiveta and Alberto Paredes now offer free soup or salad with any entree at their Sherman Oaks place Rialto.
The couple founded Rialto more than two years ago--their first venture as restaurant owners, although both have been around restaurants in Los Angeles and elsewhere for years.
Eiveta is Hungarian, and Alberto is from Guatemala. He learned Italian cooking at home.
His maternal grandmother was Italian, and he grew up fluent not only in her language but in the cooking of her native country, too.
In recent weeks, Alberto, who runs the kitchen, has offered a bean soup called pasta e fagioli, as well as minestrone and lentil, split pea and chicken soups.
Paredes also changes his entree specials almost daily, although the menu hasn't changed much since Rialto opened.
Recent specials were white fish, grilled salmon with herbs and garlic, lamb stew with pasta, osso buco, and filet mignon with porcini mushrooms and a cognac sauce.
Prices for the specials range from $14 for the fish dishes to $17.95 for the osso buco.
On the regular menu, at prices up to $14.25, are:
* Fusilli alforno with grilled eggplant, cheese and tomato sauce;
* Fettuccine burina with bacon, peas, mushrooms and cream;
* Pollo alla griglia--grilled chicken breast with garlic, olive oil and fresh herbs;
* Pollo la gludea--chicken with artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes and a white wine sauce;
* Veal with porcini mushrooms, white wine and a touch of cream;
* Shrimp with mushrooms and a cream sauce; and
* Paredes' signature scampi de la casa, with fresh herbs and butter.
Paredes grows all the herbs he uses at Rialto in his own backyard--even saffron, which is notoriously difficult to harvest. He also bakes his own breads.
Rialto seats about 50, plus 35 on a patio, so reservations are a good idea. It is at 4627 Van Nuys Blvd., Sherman Oaks; (818) 981-9473.
If this is September, it must still be summer in Southern California, notwithstanding the occasional odd rainstorm, and Chef Michael Aytkin has made some additions to the menu at Pasion Supper Club in Studio City to reflect the season.
These include a chilled cucumber soup with dill and baby shrimp, a salad St. Tropez, chicken satay with cucumber, tandoori chicken with a mango chutney, and roasted mallard duck with a coulis of summer fruit. Prices go from $8.95 for the first two items to $18.95 for the last.
On Tuesdays, Aytkin offers a $10 buffet, which also gets you a free tango lesson. Owners Allen and Haleh Adel offer big band, tango and swing music every Tuesday through Sunday night.
Pasion Supper Club is at 12215 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, (818) 752-7333.
The San Fernando Valley will get another Daily Grill before the end of the year.
Remodeling has begun on Lew's restaurant in the Burbank Hilton, and it will reappear in December as the third Daily Grill in the San Fernando Valley, the ninth in Southern California and the 11th in the chain.
Lew's continues to operate during the remodeling--at half speed. In effect, half of the restaurant's space is being remodeled now, and the other half will be done later this fall.
Once construction ends, the Daily Grill will front on North Hollywood Way, with an outside entrance and a big sign visible to folks going to and from the Burbank Airport. It will, of course, have the same menu as the other places in the chain--traditional fare such as steaks, meatloaf and mashed potatoes, chicken, pastas, big salads, and the like.
The Valley's two Daily Grills are at 16101 Ventura Blvd., Encino, (818) 986-4111, and 12050 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, (818) 769-6336.
As noted in this space in the past, you can get Chicago hot dogs at QT Chicago Dogs in Northridge and Reseda, and St. Louis pizza at JJ's Pizzeria in Sherman Oaks, and such New York goodies as pastrami and corned beef sandwiches, brisket, kosher bologna and salami, and lox and bagels at Reuben's New York Deli in Encino.
But where can you get authentic Cincinnati chicken--whatever that is--or Chicago deep-dish pizza, or New York thin-crust pizza? For that matter, where can you get chiles rellenos like they make them in the villages of New Mexico, or real Santa Fe sopaipillas?
Every time an item appears in this space noting where you can get ethnic or regional specialties like those listed above, readers ask for more.
So if you know of places serving such specialties, others who love the restaurant scene in Southern California will thank you for sharing the info.
Call or e-mail me as detailed below if you can help.
Meanwhile, check out the good stuff at QT Chicago Dogs, 8650 Reseda Blvd., Northridge, (818) 993-1999, and at 19417 Victory Blvd., Reseda, (818) 881-3666. JJ's Pizzeria is at 15053 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, (818) 986-4557). Reuben's New York Deli is at 15826 Ventura Blvd., Encino, (818) 905-6201.
* Juan Hovey writes about the restaurant scene in the San Fernando Valley and outlying points. He may be reached at (805) 492-7909, fax at (805) 492-5139 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.