I’m so glad Tom George, a Cal-Italian-Hungarian restaurant – decided to take its vibe to downtown Los Angeles. One of its owners, George, stated that this LA eatery is one of his newest babies – a distant relation to other restaurants he operates in Budapest, Hungary.
How can you go wrong with a red bar? Its warmth makes it all the more easy to reach out for one of its signature drinks – the “I Like Hendricks”!
Like? It was more of an immediate love affair with this drink whose name boasts gin, gin, gin – laced with lemonade! I need two more, please.
Wondering, “what’s the Italian here?” For starters, we ordered a pizza that looked like it just arrived from Naples.
Our Pizza Margherita’s crust was authentically wood-fired and topped with sweet tomatoes and fresh basil. The Cal-Italian element is the addition of goat cheese, instead of mozzarella. Neapolitans will definitely frown on this – only because they didn’t think of this innovation!
BTW, the Pizza Margherita was indeed invented in Naples in 1889 by chef Raffaele Esposito of Pizzeria Brandi. It was to honor the visit of Queen Margherita of Savoy, wife of King Umberto I. The pizza’s colors (red, white & green) were inspired by the Italian flag.
If you’re on a no-carbs diet, as I am, the Ahi Tuna with roasted tomatoes (a special request, on my part) is a definite specialty here. It’s so fresh that it melts in your mouth.
While I was enjoying light gourmet fare, I detected a distinct aroma of truffles. Now, this is right after my Hendricks drink and a couple of glasses of wine. Man – I thought I died and went to gastronomy heaven! I barely heard someone saying that gnudi, a Hungarian specialty, are made with ricotta. Tom George serves these smothered in porcini sauce, topped with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and black truffles. This dish crowned our food orgy. Don’t these gnudi look scrumptious?
Gnudi are not to be confused with gnocchi, Italian potato dumplings. And, of course, Tom George proudly serves the best goulash you can find anywhere!
Finally, here’s one of the best flourless, chocolate cakes I’ve tasted anywhere.
As for George of Tom George? He’s your warm, Hungarian host who’ll ensure high quality all around, especially with his attentive staff. We were served by Chris and Rosina who were on top of every minute detail. I was definitely wowed!
Note: Last Saturday, we decided to go downtown from LA’s Westside by Metro Rail. We exited at 7th Street Metro Rail Station & walked two blocks to Tom George. Can’t wait to go back to the restaurant by Metro Rail, enjoy my “I Like Hendricks” and not worry about driving!
707 South Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA. 90017
Text & Photograph ©2017 Nancy DeLucia Real