I first heard of Superba Snack Bar’s owner/chef, Jason Neroni, last year. He was a contestant at the Cochon 555 cooking event where I watched him and his staff serve the many dishes he made from a Heritage Breed Pig. At the time, he was only a few months from opening his restaurant and an unknown among the sea of Los Angeles chefs who were also competing for the coveted prize to win the Cochon 555 in Los Angeles. Although he didn’t win, Chef Neroni proved to be a worthy contender with bright ideas for his own cuisine.
Last week, my girlfriends and I headed to Superba Snack Bar in Venice Beach for our once a month dinner. I had been long over due to dine at Superba Snack Bar and I was enthusiastic to know what has become of Chef Neroni since I first saw him at the Cochon 555.
It was about 5:30pm when we arrived at the restaurant. It’s a rather handsome looking restaurant on a small busy street lined with both beach homes, an assortment of boutique shops, and some homeless beach bums. The street parking was ironically easy. I presumed it was a lucky omen, because a parking spot is usually hard to find in Venice. We were also lucky to find that the dining crowd had not arrived yet, so we, and a few other patrons, had the restaurant to ourselves for a good half hour at least.
The menu referenced that each cold cut item is $10 or you could order 2 for $18, 3 items for $24, or all listed items for $35. A friend and I shared many dishes; one was an order of Julia’s Chicken Liver Mousse Pave. This mousse was quite delightful and super creamy. I had wished they gave us more toasted bread with the order so we didn’t have to wait another 15 minutes for more of it.
The Cauliflower T-Bone dish was perhaps the most ingenious vegetarian meal that I’ve ever eaten. Kudos to Chef Neroni for creating this one. It’s a little over an inch thick cut piece of cauliflower that was grilled like steak on a barbecue grill. It’s topped with a equally tasty compote of pickled beets and some nice Sicilian Castelvetrano olives for the additional sourness. I devoured my share of this dish in an instant.
There is this friendly competition thing here in Los Angeles as to who makes the best fried chicken in town. I had always thought that Chef Ludo Lefevre of Ludo Truck and Trois Mec made the best fried chicken. However, at the moment, I am really loving the fried chicken at Superba Snack Bar. I discovered that Chef Neroni is a master at fried chicken too. His version is nicely crisped on the outside and tender yet juicy in the inside. It’s also sweet and salty with a wine and chili reduction sauce and a good sprinkling of parmesan cheese on top. Another reason why I love this fried chicken is because it tastes a lot like chicken dipped in Asian sweet chili sauce.
Of all the really good food that I eaten so far at Superba Snack Bar, it’s the handmade pasta noodles that are supreme. The pasta dishes makes Chef Neroni a brilliant culinary genius and he is a Master Technician at making them.
At the recommendation of our Server, it was the Smoked Bucatini Carbonara that I ended up ordering. Boy, was I quite glad that I ordered it. At first I had originally thought that the noodles were under cooked. Then I realized that they were intentionally made to be thicker and a tad bit dense than regular handmade pasta that I was so used to eating.
I was able really taste the smoky cherry wood notes of the pasta after thoroughly combining the very meaty carbonara sauce together.The heavy bits of panchetta and black pepper, the parmesan cheese, and egg were a good marriage with this handmade pasta. I absolutely loved eating this dish.
So after a couple hours of dining with my girlfriends at Superba Snack Bar and enjoying every dish that I had eaten, I was pleased to find that Chef Neroni has come a long way since I first saw him at the Cochon 555 event a year ago. It was especially nice to discover how this talented chef translates his style of cuisine into food worth eating and eating and eating and eating. I think you understand what I’m trying to say. Anyway I can’t wait until my return visit to Superba Snack Bar as I’m curious to know what the Chef’s Pasta Tasting menuis like.
Superba Snack Bar website: http://superbasnackbar.com/