Sherman's Food Adventures: Bestia

Bestia

A few posts ago, I mentioned that we were planning to do some more "interesting" and "better" dining in LA this time around.  This was due to the fact that the kids are older and have more refined palates and also we really do not want to eat mediocre food anymore for the sake of convenience.  So we made sure to add the ever-popular Bestia to our itinerary.  We didn't eat just by ourselves though as we met up with local writers Fiona (@gourmetpigs) and Julie (@juliewolfson).  That was a bonus as they helped us navigate the menu and ensured we ordered the right things!

We began with the fabulous Smoked Chicken Liver Pate neatly plated with appealing negative space.  Visuals aside, the pate was super smooth and creamy.  Other than the gaminess of the liver, there was an apparent sweetness and the mild hint of sherry.  To add a kick of acidity, we found preserved lemon on top as well as date vinegar on the side.  Not to be merely a sidekick, the grilled bread was soft and nutty.  Something that totally surprised me was the Cherries and Tomatoes as it was party of flavors.  Naturally, the tanginess of the tomatoes were at the forefront.  This was complimented by its natural sweetness as well as the cherries.  If this wasn't good enough as a combination, the addition of creamy burrata added a certain level of luxuriousness.  Completing things was nutty black sesame seeds and briny trout roe.

One more small dish we had was the Calamari alla Plancha with persian cucumber, shiitake mushroom, meyer lemon, toasted sesame and calabrian chili oil.  This was another delicious creation where the squid was tender while still retaining a pleasant chewiness.  It was slightly spicy and smoky from the chili oil while the meyer lemon added the necessary acidity.  The plump shiitake was also just as much as the star of the dish as the squid.  For our one choice of pizza, we had the Guanciale with heavy cream, leeks, capers, mozzarella and aleppo pepper.  Well-seasoned and evenly charred with leoparding, the pizza crust was consistent in texture throughout.  I found the edges to be nutty and appealingly chewy.  The meatiness and saltiness of the guanciale provided depth while the pepper added sweetness.  

We followed this up with 2 pastas including Gnocchi al Pomodoro with tomato sugo, housemade buttermilk ricotta and basil oil.   Fluffy and airy, the gnocchi were texturally on point.  They were coated just enough with a sauce that was lightly tangy with balanced sweetness and umaminess.  This was good, but the Spaghetti Rustichella was more memorable.  Normally, adding dungeness crab to anything means it will be lost or overwhelmed.  Not here as it was super apparent and at the forefront.  The sweet and briny flavour helped defined the flavor profile of the dish.  It was beautifully accented by the citrus and calabrian chili as well as the aromatic Thai basil and onion seed.  Pasta was perfect too, being firmly al dente.

We ended the savory dishes with a bang by ordering the 32oz Bone-in Dry Aged Prime Ribeye with arugula and radish dressed in apple balasamic.  Oh boy, this thing was huge!  Better yet, it was perfectly medium-rare with an even cook on both sides.  Furthermore, it had been rested properly where the juices stayed within the meat.  Beyond the caramelized char on the outside, the meat itself was nutty and full-bodied from the age.  The salad on the side was not just some sidekick as it was fresh and full of acidity and sweetness.  For dessert, we ended off with 2 including the Maple Ricotta Fritters which were light and delicately crispy.  The maple butter was light and only subtly sweet while the ice cream was refreshing especially from the tang of the sour cream.

Fittingly, we had the Bar au Chocolate Bittersweet Chocolate Budino Tart with salted caramel, cacao crust, olive oil and sea salt. This was really good where the salted caramel hit all the right notes while being purposefully sweet and balanced.  The chocolate itself combined well with the sweet caramel as the bitterness came through at the end.  Texturally, the crust was firm enough to provide contrast to the rest of the ingredients.  Overall, we quite enjoyed our meal at Bestia, it was solid all around with on point execution.  Vibe was lively and service was efficient.   Definite must-visit while in LA.

The Good:
- On point execution
- Solid service
- Nice vibe

The Bad:
- Parking in the area sucks
- Food came out a bit slow but they were busy

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