Sotto’s Lamb Ragu Makes My DBF List
I found a new DeathbedFood while dining at Sotto Restaurant in LA last week.
My new DeathbedFood? Their “Casarecce” Pasta which is braised lamb ragu with egg and pecorino cheese. It’s a gourmet mac & cheese … comfort food with depth of flavor unlike no other. While I still love Bandera‘s mac & cheese, Sotto’s may have taken over that top spot.
Sotto has had lots of positive buzz. This review by Los Angeles Magazine caught my eye – with Patric Kuh saying: Sotto embodies the elegant simplicity of southern Italian cooking, sticking almost exclusively “below the knee” in the boot of Italy.
Even though I had high expectations, I was blown away. Chefs Steve Samson and Zach Pollack are obviously at the top of their game with Sotto.
Chef’s Samson & Pollack (as seen in LA Mag review)
So, what makes Sotto such a great experience? I’d say several key aspects, all working well together – the food, ambiance, service and pricing.
The Food – In addition to the Lamb Ragu, we had the grilled pork meatballs which may have been the most unique I’ve ever had … I suspect the pecorino cheese may be its secret? I don’t think I can go to Sotto without ordering these each time! We also tried the special pizza of the night which was vegetarian. The cheese they used made it melt in your mouth … truly a mesmerizing dish. Sotto’s food is obviously authentic. As LA Weekly’s Squid Ink and Eater LA detailed, they even went to Naples to get the materials for their wood burning pizza oven which was built by Stefano Ferrara, a third-generation Neapolitan oven-builder who also built the oven used in Mario Batali’s Eataly in New York.
The Ambiance – Sotto has a “Hell’s Kitchen”, New York vibe. As Patric Kuh mentioned in his LA Mag review, it’s one of the few restaurants in LA where you have to step down into it to enter (my favorite in that category is Madeo on Beverly). Once inside, its lighting and combination of high communal tables with low traditional ones remind me of Gjelina in Venice. The crowd provided nice energy but it wasn’t so noisy that it became distracting.
The Service – Our waiter was attentive yet not intrusive. Educated about each item we asked about, including the nuances of each ingredient.
The Prices – Reasonable for the phenomenal quality of the food. My DBF Fusilli was $16 and worth every cent.
Overall, I can’t wait to go back for that Lamb Ragu, the pork meatballs and more …
Visit them at 3575 West Pico Blvd. or on Facebook.com/sottoLA or Twitter: @SottoLA.