Tuesday, November 19, 2013


If you like poking around in the edgelands of Los Angeles (and I do) then it’s hard to think of a better-located restaurant than Bestia, on 7th Place, in the southern part of downtown, surrounded by decaying, graffiti-scarred warehouses, and the restaurant itself is housed in what appears to be a gorgeously distressed industrial hulk.  However, the customized black Ferrari parked outside clues you in to the fact that this is, of course, one of the coolest spots in LA.  I also think it’s the loudest restaurant I’ve ever been in, though I can think of one or two competitors.

The executive chef is Ori Menashe, and his wife Genevieve does the desserts.  The menu is usually described as Italian rustic, and for my money the best things to be eaten there are the salumi, many kinds of cured meats, made onsite, which look like this:

The Loved One was more impressed by the grilled chicken hearts on a stick and the lamb neck ravioli (that black stuff on top is dehydrated olives):

There was some amazing drink to be had too, not just a cocktail list but a “Julian Cox cocktail program.”  You bet!  I went for the White Negroni: gin and “kina l’avion d’or” with a grapefruit twist.  Of course I hadn’t got a clue what “kina l’avion d’or” was but it turns out to be white wine infused with Cinchona bark, orange peel, wormwood and other spices; so somewhere between a vermouth and absinthe.  No complaints about that.  

And it came with the best ice cube I’ve ever seen; a single, huge, rough lump of ice that looked like it had been hacked off an iceberg.

But you know the very best thing we were served?  We’d scarcely placed our order when a plate of sliced meat looking much like this was delivered to the table:

It didn’t look like anything we’d ordered and so we asked the waitress what it was, and she looked at it closely, brooded for a moment or two, and then said, “Ah, that’s your complimentary 35 day dry aged New York strip carpaccio.”  I still don’t know whether it was delivered to the table by mistake and the restaurant is just too classy to take it back and give it to somebody else, or whether they just really loved us.  Either way – free meat - a triumph!

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