The Top Ten Best New Restaurants: No. 8, January 2014
After you've ogled the expanse of furniture at H.D. Buttercup across the way in the Helms Bakery complex, the narrow dining room here can seem austere. Which suits chef Evan Funke's culinary vision. The L.A. native learned pasta making in Bologna and crafts it in the purest way possible. The mixing, the cutting, the rolling—all done by hand. Funke is willing to veer from the “authentic,” spooning green olive pestataover kampachi crudo, but the compass inevitably returns to such ruggedly refined dishes as the spaghetti bolognese, its pink-hued sauce radiant with fresh tomatoes. Sardinianmaccheroni di busa (formed around long needles) come with a bold pork ragù bianco, while walnut pesto rides on disks of pliant corzetti. Breads are another specialty, which will be clear after one bite of the focaccia: a tender round dotted with roasted tomatoes.
Oh, thank the Lord—carbs are back. Specifically the slippery, chewy, diaphanous pastas of the handmade variety. Noodles such as these form the heavenly lodestar of a fresh Cal-Italian menu from former Rustic Canyon honcho Evan Funke. Inch-thick pappardelle lap up lamb ragù; curls of tagliatelle make a nest for a pancetta-loaded ragù bianco. Might we also suggest the bread, of all things, with ash-dusted slabs of goat butter? The Porchetta Truck features the crispy-edged treat that Funke took to the streets pre-Bucato. There are also fried artichokes with bottarga. Considering the tiny portions (that goes for wine, too), you can try everything. In fact, we suggest it.