Concealed in an old brick warehouse east of downtown, Bestia doesn’t tread lightly with the atmospherics. Lightbulbs dangle from meat hooks; loading bays have become giant windows. The gastro-dungeon aesthetic dovetails with the forceful Italian cooking of Ori Menashe, who drives his crew as dishes like squid ink risotto and beef heart tartare with champagne vinegar fly out of the open kitchen. The flavors are uncluttered, their full effect often trip-wired by herbal sharpness. Rubbed with anchovy and lemon paste, the immaculate flesh of the whole grilled orata contrasts with the bitter dandelion leaves tossed over the fish. With the cassoeula milanese, braised greens bring clarity to a broth potent with poached veal ribs and plump sausages. The panna cotta of Genevieve Gergis (Menashe’s wife) is a standout. Trembling and loosely clotted, it’s paired with Hachiya persimmons—soft and sweet enough to have been picked from a backyard.
Above: Batillarda di salumi nostrano