Bestia – Los Angeles (Downtown)

Bestia - Downtown - Los Angeles

I had the best time at Bestia a few weeks back. Everything about the place—the food, the energy, the room, the service—rubbed me in all sorts of right ways. Dining here was definitely an event and easily one of the most memorable meals of the year thus far. Joining me at this downtown hot spot was The Astronomer, my mom, and my friend Diep. We made sure to arrive hungry.

Bestia - Downtown - Los Angeles

Prior to joining forces with his wife, Pastry Chef Genevieve Gergis, and Restaurateur Bill Chait to open Bestia last fall in the Arts District, Chef Ori Menashe spent the past three and a half years as executive chef at Angelini Osteria.

The dining room and bar were positively humming when our party of four arrived on the scene; the mood just couldn’t be beat. We were seated immediately.

Bestia - Downtown - Los Angeles

Practically every seat in the house offers a view into the restaurant’s expansive open kitchen. We had a ball watching the cooks prepare, plate, and expedite each dish in between courses. The intensity with which the kitchen staff hustled added to the palpable energy in the room.

Bestia - Downtown - Los Angeles

A fetching assortment of marinated olives ($6), Cerignola, Castelvetrano, Taggiasche, Gaeta, and Picholine, was gifted to the table to start. According to our waitress, the Chef sent them out because the kitchen was in the weeds. Really though, I think he was just being extra nice; the lull between ordering and receiving our dinner didn’t seem all that long.

The highlight of the complimentary bowl o’ olives had to be the grassy, sweet olive oil beneath. We soaked every bread-like substance that graced our table in it.

Bestia - Downtown - Los Angeles

The pizza ($16) was the first dish to land on the table. With three funky fermented fish-loving women at the table, it was no question that the pie prettied with anchovies, San Marzano tomatoes, garlic, and rapini would be ours. While the anchovies didn’t quite punch us in the face like we had hoped, the toppings still delighted, as did the evenly charred and moreish crust.

Bestia - Downtown - Los Angeles

Next to arrive was the Ventrigli di Pollo Rosolati ($13), also known as the tenderest chicken gizzards known to man. Pan-roasted and paired with roasted beets, Belgian endive, and aged capra sarda cheese, the gizzards were like no other gizzards I had ever tasted. This dish is a must if you adore unloved odds and ends as much as I do.

Bestia - Downtown - Los Angeles

The Crostino con il Cuore di Manzo ($13), grass-fed beef heart tartare served over toast with mint, shallots, pine nuts, and champagne vinaigrette, was fantastic as well, although not as novel in taste or texture as one might imagine. The mash of beef hearts was a fine addition to our dinner lineup, but not an essential dish.

Bestia - Downtown - Los Angeles

I was stoked to try the Batillarda di Salumi Nostrano ($20), a selection of house-cured meats curated by Chef Menashe. Served alongside the thin curls of Mortadella and Capicola were a variety of pickles and a bright green mustard made from carrot tops. The highlight of the charcuterie board was the coppa di testa (head cheese). The various salamis were fine, but nothing particularly wow-inducing.

Bestia - Downtown - Los Angeles

The grilled bread served with the charcuterie was simply irresistible.

Bestia - Downtown - Los Angeles

With three starters and one pizza under our collective belts, we moved on to four incredible pastas. The Tagliolini al’Ortica ($21), hand-cut stinging nettle pasta with wild mushroom ragu and a poached egg, was nothing short of luscious. The runny yolk that spilled over elevated the pasta to even richer plains.

Bestia - Downtown - Los Angeles

The Astronomer’s favorite pasta this evening was the Fusilli Lunghi al Sugo di Capra ($18), hand-rolled fusilli with braised goat, house-made ricotta salata, and pistachio oil. The sauce was deep and soulful, while the twisty noodles had integrity and bite.

Bestia - Downtown - Los Angeles

The favorite pasta among the ladies at the table was the Cavatelli alla Norcina ($25), ricotta cavatelli with house-made pork sausage, black truffles, and grana padano. The intense aroma released by the black truffles, a whoosh really, sent us all into a tizzy.

It’s impossible to say which element was tops. From the savory sausage crumbles to the delicate cavatelli to the avalanche of black truffles—goodness gracious this dish was great.

Bestia - Downtown - Los Angeles

The final pasta dish was the Spaghetti Rustichella ($21), fabulously toothsome noodles dressed with sea urchin, garlic, fermented chili, and bread crumbs. Since these were the only noodles that weren’t handmade, our waitress made sure to warn us that the Chef intentionally cooked them al dente. We welcomed the extra firmness and relished in the dish’s simple, clean, and satisfying flavors.

Bestia - Downtown - Los Angeles

Although we could barely fit any more goodness into our bellies, we couldn’t leave Bestia without trying Genevieve Gergis’ sweets. The “Coffee & Donuts” ($11), fried-to-order spiced chestnut doughnuts with softly whipped cream and coffee gelato, were well worth the splurge. The Astronomer and I particularly loved the hints of sour and spice in the zeppole.

Bestia - Downtown - Los Angeles

The Zabaglione al Moscato ($10) was calling Diep’s name. The cool pool of custard coupled with a blood orange sorbet, brown sugar meringue, and candied orange peel was as refreshing as they come—a light and bright conclusion to our admittedly heavy meal.

With cured meats, gizzards, pastas, and doughnuts on the menu, it’s no wonder that Bestia has carved out a very special place in my heart. Not to mention, it’s housed in a really cool building. Yep, I’m totally smitten.

Bestia
2121 7th Place
Los Angeles CA, 90021
Phone: 213-514-5724

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