Printer Friendly

AN ANGEL IN AGOURA SPAGO ALUMNUS SEEKS HIS WINGS IN NEW VENUE.

Byline: Larry Lipson Restaurant Critic

HIS PIZZAS DON'T QUITE match up to those wood-fired ones that made the original Spago in Hollywood famous. But as a cooking alumnus from that celebrated Puck haven, Nobu Kusakawa figured he could do well on his own.

And he has.

His Topanga Pizza & Cafe in Woodland Hills has been smooth sailing for a few years, evidently successful enough to spawn a second, more ambitious venture that Kusakawa calls Angel Cafe.

The new restaurant, just as Italian as the first one, is located in a spacious former sports bar in Agoura Hills, where it produces crusty pizzas and respectable pastas with flavorful sauces.

His new kitchen has a bit of trouble with clams and mussels, having overcooked the clams on two occasions and the mussels once.

The first time was in an appetizer dish of Manila clams ($8.95) with a garlicky wine sauce. Most of the clam meat was dry, stringy and difficult to pull away from the shell.

During another visit, the clams were much the same in an otherwise tasty and satisfying version of penne alla pescatora ($11.95) which also contained several similarly disappointing mussels.

But the kitchen does a good job with its roasted half-chicken plates ($9.95 each).

Both have crispy fried red potatoes and refreshing cucumber salad accompaniments. One is effectively prepared with lemon and garlic, the other seasoned provocatively with fresh herbs.

Rigatoni with sausage, black olives, sweet pepper (green and red) and a good-tasting marinara sauce ($8.45) is definitely worth trying. So is the eggplant lasagna ($7.50) that utilizes the palate-friendlier Japanese eggplant rather than the fatter, regular aubergines.

It's difficult to recommend the house minestrone soup ($3.75), a very institutional effort.

And the complimentary, garlic-oil dusted rolls, though a welcome beginning, have a dryish, pasty texture.

With such a minimal wine inventory, Angel Cafe appears to approve the bringing of wine by charging a low $5 corkage fee.

Actually, its pizzas go well with a refreshing mug of unfiltered Widmer Hefewizen wheat beer on draft ($3.95).

Match the beer with the Falling Rock (8-inch, $6.25) pizza, which has a topping of pepperoni, mushrooms, garlic, bell pepper, parsley and two cheeses (fontina and mozzarella). True pizza and beer satisfaction.

Larry Lipson, (818) 713-3668

larry.lipson(at)dailynews.com

ANGEL CAFE

Food: Two and one half stars - Service: Two stars - Wine: One star

Where: 5687 Kanan Road, Agoura Hills.

Phone: (818) 889-4464.

Meals/hours: Open for lunch, dinner and snacks from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

Food type: Italian.

Cost: Starters and sandwiches from $3.75 to $9, pastas and entrees from $4.75 to $15, desserts from $3 to $5.

Credit cards: All major.

Patio dining: Yes. Small front patio.

Parking/valet: Free self-parking lot.

Full bar: No. Beer and wine only.

Wine/corkage: Minimum selection of two brands (five varietals) by the glass ($4 to $6.50) or bottle ($14.50 to $24) plus half-bottle of Ruffino chianti ($9.75). Corkage: $5.

Music/entertainment: No.

Takeout/delivery: Full takeout service. Deliveries after 5 p.m. within four-mile radius.

Reservations: Taken for parties of five or larger.

CAPTION(S):

2 photos

Photo:

(1 -- 2) Owner Nobu Kusakawa, top left, holds a seafood nicoise salad (also above) and manager Andre Mendez offers up a plate of pasta alla pescatora at the new Angel Cafe in Aguora Hills.

Tina Burch/Staff Photographer
COPYRIGHT 2005 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2005, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Aug 12, 2005
Words:573
Previous Article:POKER BOOT CAMP GIVES RECRUITS A CHANCE TO TURN $1,495 INTO A WINNING GAMBLE.
Next Article:A FITTING ENDING WITH `RADIO GOLF'.


Related Articles
YOUTH THEATER PERFORMANCE TO BENEFIT FAMILY AGENCY.
SPAGO, CHASEN'S OPENING IN BISTRO SPOTS.
NOTES\Willison named coach at Burbank.
HOT SPOTS : STUDIO ANNEX.
ANGEL PROJECT TOUCHED BY NEW DESIGN.
COMMENTARY: WHY NOT THESE PLUCKY DUCKS?
WATER POLO: AGOURA BRACES FOR 'HUGE' WEEK.
McCormick's quick takes on angelic films.
SMALL BITES MASTRO'S TO STEAK ITS CLAIM IN T.O.
Gift smooths the way for a UO alumni center.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters