Don’t get me wrong. I love pork belly and a good hamburger every once in a while, but I have never been much of a meat connoisseur. A great prime rib or Rib-Eye steak has always been a little lost on me. This doesn’t mean I would walk in to an Outback and try to order a good piece of meat (Let’s be real, I would never walk in to an Outback for anything, let alone). I can tell the difference, but it takes something very different or special for me to make a mental note of how delicious the meal was.
I have found my meat heaven at chi Spacca. Tucked around the corner from Mozza and Osteria Mozza, this is a not-so-hidden hidden gem. It has made every list. The LA Magazine’s 10 Best New Restaurants, GQ’s 25 Best New Restaurants, and the accolades go on. Most recently, chef and co-owner of the Mozza corner, Nancy Silverton, won the James Beard Foundation Outstanding Chef Award. As soon as you walk in, sit down, and look at the menu, you begin to understand what makes chi Spacca so special. The wine selection is superb, the intimate dining space is unique, and the open kitchen is nothing short of spectacular.
The menu seems small, but the portion sizes have you quickly realizing that there is no way you can make a dent in trying everything.
Nancy Silverton’s famous Foccacia di Recco is the perfect way to start your meal. I can’t do the description or back story justice, so check out the LA Times article for more details, but it is straight from heaven. It is the perfect amount of cheesy and the perfect amount of crispy all at once. If you are an alien and this for some reason does not appeal to you, I recommend the Pane Bianco with Lardo Mantecato and Nduja. It is the second best start to a meaty meal, next to the Foccacia di Recco. I won’t go into detail about the exact components of Lardo (it’s back fat), but it is divine with the bread and provides a buffer in taste with the spiciness of the Nduja, a salumi-based meat spread.
Now, on to the main meal. The menu is seasonal, so I apologize if they no longer have everything I am about to rave about. I enjoyed the “Moorish’ Lamb Shoulder Chop on my first visit. It was delicate and tender with such a subtle and complimentary sauce. Another favorite are the Porcini Rubbed Beef Short Ribs. The rub makes the dish. Reminiscent of Korean Short Ribs, the texture and size is perfect to share with friends. The tender meat tears right off of the bones. Last, but certainly not least, I cannot say enough about the Tomahawk Pork Chop. It takes awhile to prepare, but it is well worth it. It is unlike any pork chop I have ever had, in size and in flavor. It is prepared bone-in and served with the spare ribs, pork belly, and loin. There is a reason that Angeleno Magazine chose it as the #1 Must-Try Taste in Los Angeles. If you have room for sides, I suggest the Roasted Cauliflower, the Squash Blossoms, or both!
Right about now, you’re probably thinking, I need to go there for dinner tonight! Great idea! Here you go!