Taming the Beast at Bestia

I have been wanting to dine at Bestia for some time now. I was lucky enough to attend LA Magazine’s Best New Restaurants event back in January. Bestia served the most delectable duck prosciutto. It was over. I was hooked. I knew that I needed to try everything that Chef Ori Menashe had to offer a curious palate.
Recently, a friend and I have been making a tradition out of Sunday Suppers at the best of the best Los Angeles has to offer. Recently, we expanded our dinner group, adding two more friends that we considered worthy of our custom. With open minds and an equal eagerness to try one of the most talked about new restaurants, we showed up on a Sunday at 4:30PM without a reservation. Since, we were first in line, we were able to garner a coveted four-top table. Leaving celebrities still in line in our dust, we sat down to what was going to be one of the best meals of our lives.

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I could go on about the service, the ambience, or the beautiful interior of the restaurant, but we all know what you’re here for. THE. AMAZING. FOOD. First off, we enjoyed two Antipastis. One had figs, arugula, creme fraiche, gorgonzola, and pistachios in a lemon vinaigrette, and the other with grilled octopus and calamari, mushrooms, fennel, arugula, with an aged balsamic chili lemon vinaigrette. Since both had arugula and similar lemon notes in the dressings, these two truly complimented one another. Not to mention, they were both delicious! The figs were sweet with a nice tartness provided by the creme fraiche, and the other, savory with perfectly cooked octopus and calamari.

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Next, we enjoyed the Nduja Pizza complete with san marzano tomatoes, mozzarella, black cabbage and fennel pollen. I have an unhealthy addiction to nduja. It is the right amount of meaty and spicy. I was surprised at how wet the pizza was toward the center, but it didn’t take away from the experience. Little did I know, my experience was about to be elevated in so many ways.

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We chose two pastas to share between the four of us. This was a mistake; not just because the portions are on the small side, but because they are so unique and delicious. The cappalletti with duck, paremsan, butter sauce, lemon zest, and parsley quite possibly changed the whole course of my life. Confidently al dente, the pasta, duck, and lemon zest combination was out of this world. Equally as amazing, we enjoyed the cavatelli alla norcina with ricotta dumplings, housemade pork sausage, black truffles, and grana padano. Before I move on with the description, make sure your mind is nowhere near a gutter. Good? Great. I love sausage. I have eaten amazing sausage in my days. The pork sausage on this pasta was to die for. There. I said it. I am determined to return to Bestia with the sole intention of ordering every single pasta dish on the menu and nothing else.

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For our proteins, we chose the 22oz. Kurobuta Pork Chop served with anson mills polenta, apple fruta di speziate, and fried baby kale, and the Grilled Whole Orata served with rapini ripassati, anchovy paste, baby kale, and chili oil. I can confidently say that the pork chop was the best I have ever had to date. Cooked to perfection, it was the epitome of beautiful pork. The polenta was a game changer. I had never understood the appeal of polenta, but obviously I had never had polenta prepared correctly. Along with the crunchy baby kale, I wanted more.

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The Grilled Orata was a beautiful fish stuffed with greens. To my surprise, the fish had been deboned, which made it much more convenient to eat. The fish was garnished with the same greens it was stuffed with, but they were extremely bitter in comparison to their cooked counterpart.

Unable to decide from the tempting dessert options, we narrowed it down to the Strawberry Crostata with Buttermilk Ice Cream and the Lemon Poppyseed Olive Oil Cake with Blueberry Marscapone Ice Cream. I had heard so many great things about Pastry Chef Genevieve Gergis‘ contributions to the menu, and couldn’t wait to try the sweets. The strawberry crostata was the perfect consistency. Flaky, crispy, and the right amount of doughy in the center, the crust was delightful. The strawberries provided a nice brightness to the heavy buttermilk ice cream. The winner of the dessert round has to be the Lemon Poppyseed Olive Oil Cake. That blueberry marscapone ice cream is crazy. I want it on my waffles, with my afternoon tea, with everything. It is everything.

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I can’t say enough good things about my dining experience at Bestia. There are no adjectives to describe the unique ingredients and varying dishes that happen to fall in the same category. There isn’t a word to describe how you feel like you have known the chef for years after experiencing his cuisine for the first time. The hype is warranted and my praises fall short. Go and experience the wonder that is Bestia for yourself.