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    Dry-aged New York steak (Joshua Lurie)
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    Deviled eggs (Joshua Lurie)
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    Crispy octopus (Joshua Lurie)
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    Wild nettle tagliolini (Joshua Lurie)

Seasonal, market-driven Cal-Italian cooking that stands out in Woodland Hills

By Joshua Lurie

The brainchild of owners Gina Shields and Dublin-born husband Damien, this new spot in Woodland Hills has set out to strike that ever-elusive balance of tradition and innovation, sealing the deal with good-old loving care. Executive chef Gavin Humes has drafted a menu rooted in the Italian heritage of Gina Shields’ grandfather—for whom Tuccio is named—but animated with an infusion of Californian concepts. The harmony of sensibilities carries through to a wine list amply populated with Italian and California bottles—or to the fresh pints of Guinness on tap.

Warner Center is a massive business development in the West Valley that was built on former ranch land from Harry Warner, one of the Warner Brothers. Obviously Tuccio’s wasn’t part of the master plan laid out in the ’60s, but it now serves as a shining culinary beacon in the space formerly occupied by Café Fiore at the base of Warner Center Towers. The patio, with red cushioned booths and twisted metal chandeliers, makes for a pleasant spot to dine on cooler days. Inside, wall-to-wall wood frames three rows of booths, a bar with high-top seating, and the exhibition kitchen.

Chef Humes is devoted to building a menu around market produce and other local ingredients. Nuanced antipasti include a “study of sunflowers,” with crispy sunchokes, sunchoke purée, sunflower sprouts, and bright herb gremolata. The broccoli “steak” has been a breakout hit: Twin slabs are seared, basted with butter, and plated on broccoli purée with pickled mustard seeds, tangy supremed Meyer lemon, olive oil, and ash.
Other share-friendly small plates include deviled eggs dressed with pickled mustard seeds and puffed wild rice, and an English pea salad, starring crunchy pea shoots, diced snap peas, fluffy house-made ricotta, and punchy pickled shallots.

The Italian heart of the restaurant is most apparent in the selection of house pastas, ranging from more traditional options like spaghetti alla chitarra to wild nettle tagliolini, with thick green-flecked treads submerged in a peppery sauce of Pecorino Romano, butter, nutmeg, and lemon. For the heartier secondi entrées, the dry-aged New York steak is your best bet, seared in a cast iron-skillet, topped with vivid gremolata, and served with roasted thumbelina carrots, cipollini onions, and fingerling potatoes.

One of the best ways to experience Hume's vision for Tuccio’s is to bypass the menu altogether and order a chef’s tasting of three, five, or seven courses. With the names of each member of the kitchen staff credited on the menu, you can be sure that you'll be in good hands.

hours

Mon–Thu 11 AM–10 PM; Fri 11 AM–midnight; Sat 5 PM–midnight; Sun 11 AM–3 PM

price range

$17 (spaghetti alla chitarra) to $45 (dry-aged New York steak)
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