Ray Gowhari and his son Ryan have opened a new restaurant, Spruzzo, in the former Taste restaurant space in the Highlands Plaza at 538 Palisades Drive.
The grand opening was held today, but Circling the News took advantage of the soft opening to dine on the outdoor patio Saturday night.
The Cowharis, who have operated a Spruzzo in Malibu for 27 years, describe their eatery as “an upscale family-friendly restaurant in Palisades with generous portions, great prices and excellent service.”
CTN had been anxious to try the new restaurant and can report that it is indeed family-friendly, and the portions are generous. The prices are typical for Pacific Palisades.
The consensus reaction from the five adults who tried three different appetizers, a salad, three appetizers, two pizzas and three desserts was – the food was delicious (!) and this is a great addition to the Palisades.
Of the three appetizers tried — Bruschetta, Mozzarella Marinara and Spicy Rock Shrimp (popcorn shrimp tossed in a Srirachi aioli) — the favorite was the shrimp. One diner said he’d come back just for that appetizer.
The roasted beet salad, with mixed greens, marinated beets, caramelized walnuts, red onion and goat cheese served in a balsamic vinaigrette ($16) was large enough for three to share. Other salad choices include the Italian ($9/$15), chopped ($11/$16), Caesar ($9/$15) and Greek ($10/$16). The Chinese chicken salad is $16.
The chicken parmigiana, chicken piccata and chicken marsala were all declared delicious and came with sauteed vegetables and potatoes (spaghetti with the parmigiana).
There are numerous pasta dishes, including vegan zucchini pasta ($18), spaghetti carbonara ($20), lobster ravioli ($22) and eggplant rollatini ($18).
Our table tried two of the pizzas: the Margherita and the Santa Fe. Both were good, but the Santa Fe was a delectable mix of flavors with a sour cream mozzarella cheese, grilled chicken breast, caramelized onions, avocado, cilantro and pico de gallo ($23). Spruzzo offers gluten-free pizza crust, cauliflower crust and vegan cheese options with the pizza.
The desserts that were available on Saturday (and made on the premises) were tiramisu, crème brulee and New York cheesecake. All were delectable – the crème brulee received a “wow” from one of the diners. The portions were all big enough that five people could enjoy a taste. Other desserts listed on the menu are a carrot cake, chocolate mousse, banana cream tart and gelato.
There’s a full bar that offers martinis, margaritas, mojitos, Mai tais and an old fashioned, as well as draft beer and a wine menu.
After dinner, your CTN editor introduced herself to Ray Gowhari and congratulated him on the tasty servings. He said it had been a difficult two weeks because he’s had trouble finding help. That seems to be a challenge at most of the restaurants in Pacific Palisades.
The planned hours are Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. To make a reservation, go to Spruzzopalisades.com or call (424) 426-5900.
For special events and catering, email firstname.lastname@example.org.