Feb 2017

Cento Pasta Bar – Los Angeles (Downtown)

Cento Pasta Bar - Los Angeles (Downtown)

When it comes to work perks, birthday lunches rank somewhere near the top. It’s always a real treat to ditch our cubes for the afternoon and sit down for a celebratory meal. In honor of my 35th last week, I elected to lunch at Cento Pasta Bar, a two-year-old pop-up inside Mignon, a wine bar Downtown.

Cento Pasta Bar - Los Angeles (Downtown)

Behind the bar is Avner Lavi, a former pasta cook at Bestia and Sotto, two of my favorite noodling spots in town. Here at Cento, it’s a one man show. Chef Lavi takes orders, prepares food, banters with diners, and busses tables. It’s an easygoing vibe, but formal enough to avoid feeling like a dinner party at a friend’s house.

With the new minimum wage looking to shake up the dining ecosystem in the near future, this could be a new model for how restaurants operate.

Cento Pasta Bar - Los Angeles (Downtown)

The setup wasn’t ideal for our party of eight, but we made it work by flanking both sides of the bar.

Cento Pasta Bar - Los Angeles (Downtown)

To start, a hearty loaf of Tribeca Oven bread paired with house-made burrata drizzled with olive oil ($7). The delicate cheese surprised us with its sweet tinge.

Cento Pasta Bar - Los Angeles (Downtown)

We ordered one of each of the three pastas on offer this afternoon. The first one featured fettuccini with nice hunks of Dungeness crab and a healthy topping of burrata ($15). This easy-on-the-palate pasta was a definite crowd pleaser.

Cento Pasta Bar - Los Angeles (Downtown)

My favorite of the trio was the fettuccini with clams, fennel pollen, leeks, chilies, and scallions ($15). There was lots to love about this one, from the neatly de-shelled clams to the unbeatable aroma of the fennel pollen.  I could’ve twirled my fork forever…

Cento Pasta Bar - Los Angeles (Downtown)

The final dish featured beet-stained spaghetti with poppy seeds, chives, and whipped goat cheese ($12). Earthy and rich, this dish offered a fresh take on the classic pairing of beets and goat cheese.

Lunch at Cento was thoroughly enjoyable—my only regret was not getting to enjoy my birthday noodles with some vino. I guess this means that I’ll have to return when I’m officially off the clock.

Cento Pasta Bar
128 East 6th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Phone: 213-489-0131

One year ago: Union Square Donuts – Boston
Two years ago:
Bestia – Los Angeles
Three years ago:
Cafe Artist – Garden Grove
Four years ago: 
Mile End Sandwich – New York City
Five years ago: Hungry Cat – Los Angeles (Hollywood)
Six years ago: Mori Sushi – Los Angeles
Seven years ago: Amaro Bar at Osteria Mozza – Los Angeles
Eight years ago: Bake-Sale Brownies
Nine years ago: The Art of Making Bánh Chưng
Ten years ago: Naked Chocolate Cafe – Philadelphia

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