Evan Funke, most recently known for his Porchetta Truck, and before that, for the critically acclaimed plates he put out at Santa Monica's Rustic Canyon and Milo & Olive, now has his own restaurant. Bucato is Funke's baby, but it's been conceptualized in partnership with Ed Keebler, who runs the business side of things while Funke stays busy in the kitchen.
The restaurant, which lies at the dead ended intersection of Washington and Helms, is across the street neighbors with Sang Yoon's Lukshon. Bucato opens tonight, and (for now) only takes reservations for the same day; the restaurant is open for dinner nightly at 5 p.m. Here's the number to call: 310-876-0286. And here are a few things to discuss in between bites of soft, transparent, toothsome pasta.
❶ That outline of the state of California on the wall just inside the front door, made of knives? It's made of real knives, knives Funke collected himself over the years, and from the Rose Bowl Flea Market. Notice where the sole cleaver lies.
❷ The restaurant is named Bucato, which means 'laundry' in Italian, because of an old laundry sign that's still affixed to the side of the building.
❸ Heads up instagrammers! The restaurant politely requests that you don't use your cell phone while dining or inside the restaurant at all. They'd rather you didn't tweet or text. If you need to make or take a call, please take it outside. Photography of any kind is discouraged. The restaurant's website says it all.
❹ Upstairs, there is a pasta lab. It's a temperature controlled room where pasta is made by hand. This means: pasta dough is mixed on wooden tables by hand, and then kneaded a bit, by hand, and then rolled out with long pins, by hand. There are no machines (except a digital scale, for obtaining precise measurements) in the pasta lab. There's also a box fan, which they use to dry the pasta strands.
❺ The polpette, or meatballs, that Funke is making here are unlike any others you may have had in the city. The meat mixture involves pork, veal, and bacon. We suspect he's added some bread, herbs, and garlic in there too. After the mixture is rolled into small ping pong sized balls, it's breaded and deep fried. A vibrant green pesto and dusting of shaved Parmigiano finishes them off.
Bucato, 280 Helms Ave., Culver City, 310-876-0286, bucato.la