After hopscotching from New York (10 Downing, Porchetta) to San Diego (Blanca) to, finally, Los Angeles (Osteria La Buca), chef Jason Neroni has dropped anchor in Venice at Superba Snack Bar, a self-defined “modern pastaria.” The root of the menu is in Neroni's handmade pasta dishes, like the beautiful plate of smoked bucatini “carbonara” made with housemade noodles as thick as bootlaces and swirled with salty pancetta and a neatly poached egg. But if Superba's roots are in the Boot, the branches are distinctly Californian: Savory meatballs draped in a deeply, earthy mole and a summer melon salad spiked with Thai vinaigrette. Desserts can be hit or miss—the burrata gelato was fine, but the roasted pear clumsily plunked inside the bowl was not. Hiccup aside, Superba is a welcome, rare Venice restaurant where scene doesn't trump substance, and is interesting enough, one hopes, to keep Neroni from jumping ship anytime soon.
Eat This: The pastas are all handmade, and at least one—try the smoked bucatini carbonara ($17)—should be ordered to share. And the cauliflower T-bone ($15), a cross-section of the vegetable topped with an orange and olive pistou and complemented well by a basil purée, is making fans out of both vegetarians and carnivores alike.
Drink This: The wine list is short but selective. Choose from hearty reds from France, interesting whites from Greece and a handful of rosés for those warm nights on the patio. If you're more of a beer drinker, browse the short, but similarly well-curated, list of mostly local craft beer.
Sit Here: On warm nights, the patio is a perfect spot to dine. On cold ones, grab a seat at the bar to marvel over the action in the tiny, open kitchen. In either case, get here early: Reservations are only taken for parties of six or more, and small groups of Venice locals are filling seats fast.
Conversation Piece: A quote of the day is usually handwritten above the kitchen. On a recent night, the wise words of Miss Piggy were hung: "Never eat more than you can lift."
|Venue name:||Superba Snack Bar||Contact:|
533 Rose Ave
|Opening hours:||Mon-Thu 6-10:30 pm; Fri 11am-3pm, 5-11:30pm; Sat 10am-3pm, 5-11:30pm; Sun 10am-3pm, 5-10pm|
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