Bestia

Bestia is one of the hot restaurants in LA that has alluded me for some time now.  It’s been open for a few years and many have extolled its solid offerings, especially the pastas.  I’ve tried to come here not once but twice with Ho Bag.  Once she cancelled on me, and once I cancelled on her.  Maybe it just wasn’t met to be?  Come to the rescue The Bear Crew.  Buff Bear, Panda Bear, Luau Bear, Mani Bear (previously known as Little Bear), and myself hiked it to DTLA fighting all sorts of traffic.  Farm Bear was down for the count because the trek from Santa Monica to DTLA was just too ugly to tackle.I don’t think any of the newer restaurants in DTLA understand the concept of quiet dining.  The din of the very busy dining room here and at The Factory Kitchen were both energetic and draining.  The point of dining out with friends is, of course, to eat great food, but also to have great conversation.  It’s so hard to do that when you’re screaming at the top of your lungs.  But I guess anything is better than the acoustics at Bottega Louie.



Butter Poached Lobster chanterelles, kabocha purée, pea tendrils, pickled shallots, aged balsamic

Wonderfully sweet and supple lobster.  Everything was spot on, but I thought the kabocha wasn’t the best pairing with the lobster.

Foie Gras Terrine stumptown coffee, spices, lemon paste, sea salt, brioche

We were so fortunate to come to Bestia just days after the foie gras ban was lifted.  The terrine was simply devine.  The lemon paste was a wonderful complement to the smoothe butteriness.  Why does foie gras pair so well with fruit?

Genevieve’s Little Gem Salad walnut vinaigrette, ricotta salata, soft herbs, radish, shallot

Mani Bear’s only request was this salad.  It was a nice salad, but I’m not sure it was anything particularly special.



Alla’nduja housemade spicy ‘nduja, san marzano tomatoes, mozzarella, black cabbage, fennel pollen

We felt obligated to order pizza even though we all really wanted more pastas.  But apparently there was room for this and the waiter recommended it.  It was good, but I’m not a huge pizza person.  No joke, that sausage was pretty darn spicy.

Roasted Bone Marrow spinach gnocchetti, crispy breadcrumbs, aged balsamic

This has got to be one of the best bone marrow dishes in LA.  Usually bone marrow is paired with some crusty bread, but here the marrow is intended to be scooped out and tossed with the gnochetti.  Holy moly, it was sinfully delicious.  Good bone marrow doesn’t just taste like fat, but it has a specific fat taste to it.  You will never know what I am talking about if you’re a vegetarian.  If you’re a vegetarian you should stop reading this blog.  You probably already figured this out by now.  Buff Bear gave 2 enthusiastic thumbs up.

Cavatelli alla Norcina ricotta dumplings, housemade sausage, black truffles, grana padano

Frickin’ amaze balls dude!  It was certainly the truffle aroma that sent this one over the top.  The pasta was soft, yet chewy.  Panda Bear was a fan of this dish.

Pici house leavened semolina, lamb ragu, saffron, capra sarda, bread crumbs, parsley

Why do all ragus taste the same?  Always very good, hearty, and satisfying, but never any surprises.  Oh that pasta was perfect though.

Spaghetti Rustichella sea urchin, squid ink bottarga, garlic, calabrian chilies, breadcrumbs

Uni has to be one of my favorite delicacies.  Uni pasta is definitely a must have whenever I see it.  Their version here was one of the BEST I’ve ever eaten.  Most uni pastas are fairly simple, creamy from dairy and uni.  Here there were added dimensions of flavor from the bottarga and spice from the chilies.  It was just fantastic.  This was my favorite dish of the night.

Grilled Whole Branzino herb salad, castelvetrano olives, marjoram, shaved carrots

It ain’t an Italian dinner unless there’s branzino.  The herb salad was bright and colorful, however it made the skin on the branzino soggy.  Usually branzino is such a standout because of its crispy skin.  Overall, I still liked this dish.

“Coffee & Donuts” spiced chocolate zeppole, whipped cream, coffee ice cream

Hard to go wrong with fried dough balls.

Crème Fraîche Panna Cotta mixed winter citrus, meyer lemon cookie

The panna cotta was extra jiggly and I definitely like my panna cotta to lean that way.  A firm rubbery panna cotta is almost as bad as a well done steak.  Citrus fruits are probably not my first choice but it was definitely a change from your usual mixed berries.

 
Valrhona Fairtrade Bittersweet Chocolate Budino Tart salted caramel, cacao crust, olive oil, sea salt

Ohhh, so chocolately.  That crust was just how I like my chocolate, so deep and rich and not too sweet.  Chocolate lovers must order this.

Bestia was probably one of the best meals I’ve had in LA in a long time.  I think I said the same about Tar & Roses and Orsa & Winston.  I would agree with everyone else who has dined here and subsequently raved about the place.  The pastas really are the star of the show.  I’m not sure how traditionally Italian they are, since they are putting things like bone marrow, uni, and bottarga in pasta.  It doesn’t matter because good is good.  I would hands down come here again.  It’s a 5 star place in my opinion.  The menus is always changing so I’ll be certain to get something new and exciting.  I am really amazed at how the DTLA dining scene is really taking off.  Great things are happening in this part of LA, where only bad scary things happened here like 10-15 years ago.  One thing is for sure, skid row is still sketch as hell and the bums still sleep beneath the freeway underpasses.  But aside from that, DTLA is up and coming!

 

10 – You NEED to eat here 
9 – Awesome! 
8 – Very good
7 – Good
6 – OK
5 – Average
4 – Not bad
3 – Not good
2 – Terrible
1 – Do NOT go here

 

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