Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
Prego Ristorante
Sherman Oaks Galleria, Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles
818-905-7004

Review by Diana DeRiggs

The Sherman Oaks Galleria is on the spot where the oldest mall in America once stood. It laid fallow for years, then was torn down and a new, sparkly, yuppified series of buildings were built in its place. In the curved tunnels, walkways and such, there is an Italian restaurant called Prego we'd wanted to try, if for no other reason than a good friend worked here, and the bistro we really wanted to go to was too packed to think about.

The first thing you notice are the wrought iron chandeliers ... did you see the silverware on the tables at Hogwart's, in that final scene in Chamber of Secrets when Hagrid comes back from Azkaban? It was like that. A bit "torture chamber," you know? But the booths and tables were comfy and the food looked good. The offerings on the dessert cart looked ornately decadent, too!

We each got an unpronounceable salad from the "specials" list -- endive (pronounced "ahn-deeve"), strawberries, gorgonzola, walnuts. The endive came finely crosscut. I think I might have liked it better without the berries. The cheese was not really gorgonzola, either ... more like mild goat, maybe? It was certainly refreshing. I also ordered a seafood gnocchi -- hey, why not? -- and he ordered a risotto. Both were good, tender, but both did need extra seasoning -- i.e., was rather bland. Alas, maybe because it was seafood, no parmesan cheese was offered till we flagged the waitron (androgenous waitperson -- don't you hate the word "waitperson"??) down and she made us wait for it. By then, the food was half-eaten, and we didn't want any dessert.

By the way, dessert carts, as pretty as they seem, are a bad, bad, bad idea. Those slices of cake and pie just sit out there, drying out, letting people oggle and finger them, flies land on them, etc. It's really a gross idea, especially if they serve you the piece that's on the cart. We tried the semi-freddo that some friends got -- we figure it couldn't be left out to melt. It was okay. Not a biggie. We ended up going to Ben & Jerry's for dessert, but we were kind of disappointed in that, too. Argh.

All in all, this was the priciest place we went to during this visit, and not recommended unless you have a bland palate and a full purse. The bathrooms are nice, but between the food and service, and the steroidal decor, you'd be better off elsewhere unless you just want to sit in a nice looking place or need to impress someone, perhaps?


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