DTLA: Dinner at Bestia
One of my new favorite restaurants is Bestia in Downtown Los Angeles. It’s rare for me to love a restaurant so much that I want to go back right away. But I do love this restaurant so. It’s Italian food so immediately I’m thinking rich meats, seafood and pasta. We didn’t try the pizza so I’ll have to go back for that.
I had heard so much about the house cured meats and knew I wanted to try it but in our excitement of ordering, we had forgotten to include it. I’m glad our server recommended it so it reminded us to order the small salumi platter. My favorites were the chicken liver and the head cheese. But all the meats and pickles were awesome.
One of my favorite dishes that night was the beef heart tartare. I know it’s good when I don’t feel like sharing. I might be able to share with one other but not a table of four next time.
Before I had dinner at Bestia, I had drinks first at the bar a few weeks prior to the dinner. I saw someone go to town on the mussels with a simple bottle of red. I knew I wanted that bowl for myself. These mussels were plump and we considered getting extra bread to sop up the delightful sauce but we knew we had more coming.
Speaking of cocktails, I tried the White Negroni on my first visit and enjoyed the Negroni style cocktail (stirred, equal parts) with Ford’s gin, Kina L’avion D’or, Suze and grapefruit twist. One of the more popular cocktails had to be the first one on the list, the Refreshing cocktail (Campari, Cocchi Americano, lime, evaporated cane sugar, seltzer). And it was refreshing.
During dinner, I ordered the Byrrh Fizz and two companions followed suit. I always delight in esoteric booze and Byrrh is a newish on the market. It’s a wine-based apertif and made a great fizz. Bestia combines Byrrh with rye egg white, lemon and tops it with a toasted bay leaf adding to the cocktail’s aroma as you drink.
Usually I’m the only one who fights for ordering the octopus and calamari but not this night. Everyone at my table loved seafood as much as I did. Or at least it seemed like they did because this dish was gone in 60 seconds. The texture of the octopus was perfect- perfect chew.
On the other hand, I finished the tripe stew by myself. No one else seemed to share my enthusiasm for this dish. I love tripe and I will eat it anytime I see it on the menu. The sauce was fantastic and I wondered how it’d be over some polenta. I made due with bread but I think this sauce would be heavenly on polenta or even rice.
There were quite a few pastas to choose from. Our table of four decided to share two. I thought the cavatelli looked good with the sausage but I knew we had to get the spaghetti with uni.
I loved the sauce with the cavatelli. I was glad we saved some bread from the tripe stew because it went towards cleaning the pasta plates!
I had seen pictures of the spaghetti rustichella with sea urchin and it did not disappoint. I always like pasta with uni and this was no exception. The pasta was perfectly al dente. The hints of spice from the chili-fennel soffritto was great.
The menu has already changed a bit in the month or so I was there so I’m looking forward to going again and maybe I’ll try some pizza and desserts next time. Or some of the bigger plates. I bet they have some amazing pork dishes.
© The Minty 2013