The Italian Job

New Italian takeover in Sherman Oaks

Big changes for longtime Sherman Oaks favorite Le Frite Café. After decades in business on the Boulevard, the French bistro has morphed into an Italian restaurant called Modo Mio Cucina Rustica. It is new owner George Zaoui’s second Modo Mio outpost. The original location has been in Pacific Palisades for years.

In one of his most famous songs, Frank Sinatra sang, “My Way.” George riffs off that with the name of his Northern Italian eatery: Modo mio is Italian for “my way.”

Each meal starts with an amuse bouche that could consist of marinated mushrooms or possibly bruschetta with basil and tomato. Nosh while perusing a sprawling menu that may take awhile to navigate.

Modo Mio qualifies as a mid-priced Italian restaurant. The entrée tagliata di manzo all’antico (grilled steak marinated in herbs and olive oil) is the highest-priced menu item at $36. Linguine all Vongole ($18) is especially noteworthy, with fresh clams sautéed with white wine, garlic and onions and tossed with al dente pasta strips.

Veal is available in a pair of preparations. Scalloppine alla Griglia ($29)—top round with portobello mushrooms, rosemary and sautéed onions—sounds more enticing than tangy Scalloppine al Limone. Modo Mio also prepares a wealth of salads, pizzas and risotto dishes.

If you have room for dessert, consider the generous slab of tiramisu featuring espresso- and Kahlua-soaked ladyfingers, fluffy mascarpone cream and a dusting of cocoa powder. Each order is plated on squiggled chocolate sauce.

Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Modo Mio also offers a prix fixe, three-course, $19.95 business lunch. Each course has at least three options.

To drink, Modo Mio has a surprisingly strong French focus, though you can get California and Italian pours. If you prefer something stronger, Francophile riffs on classic cocktails include Champs Elysees Dans Manhattan and Ooh La La Rusty Nail.

The space now features a red, white and blue color scheme. A red brick planter-framed patio and blue awning give way to a dining room with blue cushioned banquettes, white tablecloths and small wood bar.

15013 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, 818-990-1791