Bestia (LA Getaway)

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Bestia. Location:
Downtown.7th Place. Scene: Trendy Casual. Urban. Industrial Farm. Food: Italian. Kale Salad. Prawns. Bone Marrow. Beef Heart Tartare. Margherita Pizza. Black Truffle Pizza. Sea Urchin and Lobster Spaghetti. Oxtail and Chestnut Ragu Pasta. Suckling Pig. Grilled Whole Fish.

  1. Pan Roasted Chicken Gizzards with Roasted Beets, Belgian Endive, Aged Capra Sarda (1st pic)
  2. Pan-Seared Octopus & Calamari with Fennel, Mixed Mushrooms, Arugula and Aged Balsamic (3rd pic)
  3. A La Plancha Grass-Fed Beef Tongue with Berlotti Beans, Fermented Chilies, Red Wine Vinegar and Salsa Verde (4th pic)
  4. Cavatelli alla Norcina: Ricotta Dumplings, Housemade Pork Sausage, Black Truffles, Grana Padano (5th pic)
  5. Tagliatelle allo Zafferano: Hand-Cut Saffron Pasta, Calabrian Sausage Ragu with Cherry Tomatoes and Young Rapini
  6. Chocolate Budino Tart: Salted Caramel, Cacao Crust, Olive Oil and Sea Salt (pic below)

Bestia which opened in the warehouse district in downtown Los Angeles in November is owned and operated by chef Ori Menashe and his wife pastry chef Genevieve Gergis. The good looking gent is from Israel, and pork lovers do not be fooled as this guy does not cook a kosher kitchen. He cures his own meats in house such as guanciale, mortadella, pig’s head and all pastas are homemade. There is a cold bar station for the salumi and scallop crudo, two pasta stations, a grill, the pizza oven and pastry. The space is very urban with meat hooks posing as chandeliers and beautiful light fixtures. It’s perfect for big groups and the table at the very back which is raised and perfect for sharing seats 8. You can view the open kitchen from here and watch the pizza cooks spin their dough into the Italian oven.

This menu is brave for LA and would be serious dank in NYC. I get “dank” from my chef and drummer cousin in LA who was nice enough to introduce me to Chef Menashe and Gergis and their Italian masterpieces. The menu is divided into cold apps, antipasti, pizza, pasta and secondi.  The Chicken Liver Crostino was amazing (2nd pic). No you might not have ever enjoyed liver in your life especially when your Jewish grandmother shoved it down your throat, but I [secretly] liked it and would proudly serve it to anyone knowing that they would too. My favorite dish of the night as if it was even fair to pick between the twelve different dishes we devoured would be the Pan Roasted Chicken Gizzards with Roasted Beets. Damn. Who would have thought a chicken’s digestive tract would be so good. Ok forget that part, but yes, it was amazing and tasted like candy. A little crunchy on the outside, tender and a tad fatty on the inside. It’s just the right amount of chewy and  the flavor pairs perfectly with the beets. Then comes the grilled Beef Tongue. Ever since my first tongue experience in Austin at Foreign & Domestic, it has become my secret weapon and everyone who tries it falls in love. Yes, the thought of tongue on tongue might be a little gross, but you’ll get over it if you like good food. It melts in your mouth, you can cut it with the side of your fork and there you have it: a delicious piece of meat. The Scallop Crudo was just fine, a little too lemony for me, but the Pan-Seared Octopus and Calamari took care of my seafood craving. I still believe octopus is one of the hardest things to grill and cook properly. It can come out squishy and rubbery, but this baby was cooked the right amount of time and temperature without much added dressing. My brother who has never tried this underwater creature and who could barely read this menu in the first place loved it. Sometimes you gotta just tell people what they are eating after they are obsessed…

Skip the pizza. I know the oven looks awesome as does the bubbly black crus,t but it’s just not the highlight. The Cavatelli alla Norcina pasta which is ricotta dumplings, housemade pork sausage and black truffles is literally overflowing the kitchen. The nibblet size pasta is great and it’s so comforting and feels right. The Tagliatelle alo Zafferano which is saffron pasta, sausage ragu, cherry tomatoes and young rapini is brilliant, simple and easily understood . If you need a dish to bring you back down to earth, go for this one. The fusilli with braised goat ragu and pistachio oil is a great idea but doesn’t even compete with Michael White’s braised oxtail and bone marrow fusilli at Marea. Loved the multiple textures in the Squid ink  Spaghetti and wild fennel pollen. If you can bare to save room for dessert, reach for the Valrhona Chocolate Budino Tart. Again, if you put salted caramel, olive oil, sea salt and chocolate pudding on a plate, you are going to get a round of applause. No doubt.

Love BESTia and I am confident in saying this could def make it in New York. Love the lighting, casual and inviting environment and it’s plain fun. When If you want a night out and don’t want to make multiple stops and scenes, come here. The staff is all cute, attentive and you feel like a million bucks (and pounds) walking out of here. The fact that almost every kind of meat/protein you can think of is executed so efficiently on this menu is incredible. Go team!

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