Sherman's Food Adventures: Felix

Felix

For all the times I've visited LA, there have been very few opportunities for me to do some "real" dining.  What I mean by that is rather than going to family-friendly restaurants that were convenient to where I had been staying (ie. Disneyland, Universal etc...), this time around we were going to eat well.  So after some research (thanks Mijune!) and recommendations from some local expertise, I settled on a good lineup of eats including my Felix out at Venice Beach.  This happens to be Janet Zuccarini's (of Top Chef Canada) restaurant that features house-made pasta and pizza.  We were lucky to score a reservation for this hard-to-get into restaurant.

The kids were jacked for this meal and totally brushed off the offer of "kid-friendly" options.  We began with some delicious Fiori di Zucca (fried squash blossoms stuffed with creama di ricotta).  These were delicate with a light, yet uniform crunch.  Inside, the creamy ricotta was well-seasoned bordering on salty.  However, there was no wanting for anymore flavor.  Loved how this was not greasy at all despite the possibility of oil absorption (testament to the correct oil temperature).  Seemingly also deep-fried, the Polpette della Maestra Alessandra (pork meatballs with salsa verde and parmigiano reggiano) sported a crispy exterior that revealed a tender and moist interior.  There was very little filler since the pork was quite meaty, yet at the same time, it wasn't too firm either.  Seasoning was sufficient while the salsa verde added some brightness.

Normally, when you see burrata on the menu as a part of a dish, one would expect it to be a small piece.  However, we found a whole burrata in the Panzanella with summer vegetables and pane fritto.  Now that wasn't the only thing that made this salad good.  The vinaigrette was intensely acidic (in a good way) with balancing sweetness.  Nutty and crunchy, the fried bread was several notches above ordinary croutons.  The outside crunch was texturally contrasted by the softer interior.    The fresh tomatoes only added to the overall enjoyment.  We chose the classic Margherita as our pizza for the meal and it sported a leoparding on the bottom and some portions of the crust.  I found the dough to be chewy with elasticity with enough salt.  Although the center is supposed to be tender and saucy, it was a bit too wet for us.  The amount of cheese was on point though.

Heading to the pastas, we were served the Rigatoni All'Amatriciana first.  It consisted of firmly al dente pasta tubes perfectly sauced by a pomodoro with plenty of guanciale and pecorino romano DOP.  With a touch a spice, full of meatiness and body, the pasta was robust and impactful.  The generous amount of guanciale added a certain silkiness and appealing saltiness.  There was also a balancing amount of tang to bring down some of the heaviness.  Equally good was the Orecchiette with sausage sugo, friarielli, peperoncino and canestrato.  Also firmly al dente, the orecchiette offered up a rebounding resistance with every chew.  We enjoyed the meatiness of the sausage and the spice.  The crunch from the friarielle provided extra texture and freshness.  Naturally, the cheese added some nuttiness and saltiness as well.

For our larger dish, we had the Taliata di Manzo (ribeye cap) with heirloom tomatoes dressed in aceto balsamico di moderno and parmigiano reggiano.  Prepared perfectly and evenly medium-rare (closer to rare), the rib cap was tender with all the fat activated.  It was well-seasoned which added to the overall umaminess and richness of the meat.  Not merely just a side, the tomato salad mirrored the panzanella with sweet tomatoes in a tangy dressing.  To end the meal, we tried the Flourless Chocolate Cake with hazelnuts.  This was rich while not overly dense.  Hits of dark chocolate with semi-sweetness was complimented by the sweeter chocolate sauce.  Overall, we enjoyed our meal at Felix with the pastas being the highlight.  Also, the location and general vibe enhances the experience.

The Good:
- Outstanding pastas
- Impactful flavors
- Energetic vibe

The Bad:
- Pizza crust could be less wet
- Tight seating

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