Bestia (Los Angeles, CA) [2]

Bestia
2121 7th Pl.
Los Angeles, CA 90021
Dining date: 8/17/13, 11/8/13, 1/3/14

bestia exterior

Bestia has quickly become one of my favorite restaurants in the city with its delicious Italian food. I’m not the only one that’s visited regularly as the restaurant seems to be packed night-in and night-out for those stopping in for Ori Menashe’s food, wife Genevieve’s desserts, or Julian Cox’s cocktails. Maybe even all three.

I’ve dined at Bestia every couple of months; my first post covered my first three meals while this one recaps my last three visits. Each time, we’ve ordered a mix of ‘old’ favorites and new ones, slowly making our way through the ever-changing seasonal menu.

bestia interior

Bill the Butcher aged rhum jm. aperol. egg white. lemon juice. barrel aged peychaud’s bitters.
5th and Adams single village mezcal. pineapple. lemon juice. ginger syrup.

cocktail1

Beef Meatballs. braised beet greens. soffritto. tomato.

Beef Meatballs. braised beet greens. soffritto. tomato.

These meatballs were moist and showed off a nice beefy flavor. Really liked the smoky char flavor that the grill imparted.

Grilled Santa Barbara Rabbit. loin and rack. potatoes. sea fennel. mushrooms. aleppo pepper oil. rabbit reduction.

Grilled Santa barbara Rabbit. loin and rack. potatoes. sea fennel. mushrooms. aleppo pepper oil. rabbit reduction.

The rabbit was grilled perfectly – juicy and slightly smoky. Earthy mushrooms and crispy potatoes were welcome accompaniments.

Bill Niman Ranch Grass-fed Beef Tongue. fingerling potatoes. fermented chilies. pickled eggplants. salsa verde.

Bill Niman Ranch grass-fed Beef Tongue. lentils. fermented chilies. shallots. parsley. red wine vinegar.

Always awesome. The tongue is both crispy and tender with great flavor and just the right amount of acid. The salsa verde is found on a number of the antipasti and it’s a really good one.

Slow Roasted Lamb Neck. persimmons. hearts of fire. pickled fennel. salsa verde. pomegranates.

Slow Roasted Lamb Neck. persimmons. hearts of fire. pickled fennel. salsa verde. pomegranates.

Pulling the meat apart from the bone, this neck meat was delicious. The salsa verde was zesty, providing some acid to complement the gamey meat, while fennel and persimmon pieces also brightened everything up.

Grilled Octopus & Calamari. puntarella. salsa di acciughe. fennel. arugula. pomegranate seeds.

Grilled Octopus & Calamari. puntarella. salsa di acciughe. fennel. arugula. pomegranate seeds.

These seafood bites were a little chewier than expected, but overall was still tasty with a similar sauce to the previous two dishes.

Salsiccia. housemade lamb sausage. san marzano tomatoes. ricotta. mint.

Salsiccia. housemade lamb sausage. san marzano tomatoes. ricotta. mint.

Burrata. san marzano tomatoes. castelvetrano olives. oregano. fermented chilies.

Burrata. san marzano tomatoes. castelvetrano olives. oregano. fermented chilies.

I didn’t try a pizza until my fourth visit here. These were both strong efforts with a charred crust that showed off crisp spots and soft, yielding dough in some spots. As with the rest of the dishes, the toppings and flavor profiles were strong too. Still, I think stomach room is best saved for other plates here.

Spaghetti Rustichella. sea urchin. squid ink bottarga. garlic. calabrian chiles. breadcrumbs.

Spaghetti Rustichella. sea urchin. squid ink bottarga. garlic. calabrian chiles. breadcrumbs.

We’ve ordered this almost every time. There’s a very nice balance and richness to this dish packed with sea flavor from the uni and bottarga. The spaghetti has always had a nice chew to it.

Tagliatelle alla Zafferano. hand-cut saffron pasta. calabrian sausage ragu with cherry tomatoes. arugula.

Tagliatelle alla Zafferano. hand-cut saffron pasta. calabrian sausage ragu with cherry tomatoes. arugula.

Very different from the uni spaghetti but this one is my other favorite pasta here. The sausage is tasty and the ragu is delicious with a subtle heat. The bold flavors come with chewy, addicting strands of tagliatelle.

Porcini Pappardelle. hand-cut mushroom pasta. mixed mushroom ragu. pea tendrils. poached farm egg. fried spinach.

Porcini Pappardelle. hand-cut mushroom pasta. mixed mushroom ragu. pea tendrils. poached farm egg. fried spinach.

I’ve found this a little too earthy on one visit and just right on another. Mushroom flavor comes through within the pasta and the ragu, while the runny poached egg adds that extra flavor and richness.

Agnolotti alla Vaccinara. cacao pasta parcel. braised oxtail. burro fuso. grana padano. pine nut. currants.

Agnolotti alla Vaccinara. cacao pasta parcel. braised oxtail. burro fuso. grana padano. pine nut. currants.

Not the most pleasing dish to the eye, these had a creamy oxtail filling with subtle chocolate undertones. Something like lemon/lime zest would’ve been ideal for me to brighten these bites up.

Risotto al Nero di Seppia. squid ink. cuttlefish. mussels. clams. hint of pesto.

Risotto al Nero di Seppia. squid ink. cuttlefish. mussels. clams. hint of pesto.

A hearty sea flavor was displayed in this dish with a generous portion of cuttlefish. The cuttlefish was a little bit chewier than I expected, but I liked the plump mussels hidden in the rice.

Yes, Chef. lardo infused bourbon. angostura. hickory smoked simple syrup. salt.

cocktail2

Valrhona Fair Trade Bittersweet Chocolate Budino Tart. salted caramel. cacao crust. olive oil. sea salt.

Valrhona Fair Trade Bittersweet Chocolate Budino Tart. salted caramel. cacao crust. olive oil. sea salt.

I’ve had this tart a number of times – all of the flavors were apparent from the rich chocolate to the caramel and salt. To me, the olive oil was a key ingredient adding a subtle fruity flavor and a smoother mouth-feel.

Mascarpone Rice Pudding. hachiya persimmon. orange blossom pistachios. persimmon caramel.

Mascarpone Rice Pudding. hachiya persimmon. orange blossom pistachios. persimmon caramel.

The persimmons were great in this rice pudding. So ripe and sweet, these were delicious and also pudding-like in texture. Pistachios added just a little bit of crunch and a nutty dynamic.

Pomegranate Sorbet. triple ginger cookie.

Pomegranate Sorbet. triple ginger cookie.

Strong pomegranate flavor in this very refreshing sorbet. Worked well as a palate cleanser of sorts or just a light dessert.

Pink Lady Apple & Candied Quince Crostata. apple cider caramel. frangipane. vanilla ice cream.

Pink Lady Apple & Candied Quince Crostata. apple cider caramel. frangipane. vanilla ice cream.

A buttery, flaky tart was topped with warm apples – just enough sweetness to make some comforting bites. Offsetting the warm baked creation, vanilla ice cream completed each bite.

Bestia continues to be a very satisfying, delicious meal. Its crowds are certainly justified. However, the service has been a little inconsistent lately (particularly slow on my last visit), the restaurant gets exceptionally loud, and I really wish the bathroom accommodated more than one person for this size of restaurant, but the food more than makes up for this. My general recommendation has been to pass on the pizzas and large plates and to hone in on the small plates and pastas. The pizza won’t disappoint, but it’s far from extraordinary, and there are plenty of places in LA that make a good pizza. The large plates haven’t really disappointed either, but the large selection of antipasti have been more interesting and offer a better variety of things to try.


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