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Sep 15, 2012 10:51 PM

Sotto is Spectacular

The title says it all.

But, we had:

-Octopus braised in tomato sauce served over
chickpeas chard and bottarga. Delicious. Tender. Many many layers of flavor. Excellent dish.

-Pork meatballs with pecorino. Outrageously good. Even better with our COS 2009 Frappato

-Grilled Mackeral with cauliflower, preserved lemons, and buckwheat. The mackerel was rich, the skin was crispy, delicious. Yes, I know, I'm using the word delcious way too much. But there isn't much else that needs to be said about Sotto.

-Casarecce pasta with lamb ragu. The pasta was fresh, and had such wonderful developed gluten. The al dente texture was perfection.

-Fileja calabresi with squid ink, tomatoes, and peperoncino. Equally delicious and the pasta was again so amazingly al dente. Trying to pick a favorite was like trying to pick which limb to sever. Painful and impossible.

-Ricotta gnocchi with skate wing sughetto. Very good but was not transcendent like the other 2.

-Margherita pizza. I was afraid it would be too thick looking at yelp photos. The cornichon is a bit thicker than Ortica but the rest of the pizza is just as thin and delicious with high quality tomato sauce buffalo mozzarella, and olive oil. The crust is chewy and flavorful. Charred so it almost gives off as much delicious smokiness as a coal oven pizza.

-Diavolini pizza. Special of the night, sausage, chile peppers, kale (?). Spectacular. The wine director offered us a glass of wine which paired perfectly with the pizza. Also outstanding.

-Fennel crusted pork chop. A delicious piece of protein. Perfectly cooked. Juicy. Flawless execution. As good as it was, I probably would have rather had another pizza or pasta dish.

-Cannoli with orange marmalade, pistachio, ricotta. One of the best cannolis I've had. Crispy outside, light yet rich and satisfying filling

-Sheeps milk yogurt panna cotta. Very interesting. Richer than your standard panna cotta. Delicious.

The pizzas here are spectacular neapolitan style pizzas. The pastas and appetizers were also tremendous. I love the southern Italian cuisine they are serving and how true the wine list stays with obscure southern Italian wines. The wine director is very knowledgable. Chat him up. Ask him for recs. Be prepared to learn and discover.

Sotto is not only a leader in the LA pizza renaissance but they are also introducing LA to specific regional southern Italian cuisine. Needless to say, these people have their stuff together in spades.

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    1. Great report.

      Try the calzone next time if you're so inclined.

      3 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        Would have if it wasn't for the pork chop. Should have. Will do next time.

        1. re: Porthos

          It probably ruined me for all other calzones.

          This place and Racion are probably my two favorite restaurants right now.

          1. re: Porthos

            Great report. Love it there. Personally, I think the pork chop is fantastic there.

        2. Excellent! Glad you enjoyed it. If you ever make it there again, I would definitely recommend the spicy clams.

          Making me want to make another trip there.

          1. Amen!
            What! missed the cocktails? They have one with house-made Cel-Rey soda and Bourbon that is so perfect for the heat we have been experiencing.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Ciao Bob

              Went with wine. A sparkling Murgo brut rose for the seafood based antipasti and primi and the 2009 COS Frappato for the meat dishes. Excellent. Can't wait to go back to explore the menu and wine list some more.

              1. re: Porthos

                Try anything from Frank Cornelissen, if he still has some left.
                Truly spectacular, and VERY hard to find.

                  1. re: Porthos

                    Reservations requested.

            2. Sorry to take issue with you, but when I ate my Margherita at Sotto, it was the first time in my long pizza eating career that I had to use a knife and fork. I have had many good neo pies, but this was not one of them. The hydration percentage of the dough was the greatest I have ever encountered, and that is why the dough is so soft. You will never get a pie with dough like this in Da Michele, Brandi, Motorino or Pauly Gee's.

              4 Replies
              1. re: pizzafreak

                Pizza in Naples is often eaten with a knife and fork.

                I have posted ad nauseam a video of Tony Bourdain's trip to Naples where he eats pies with a knife and fork and comments on how it's supposed to be eaten with a knife and fork. You can see Neapolitans eat it with a knife and fork in the background.


                For what it's worth, everyone at our table was able to successfully fold our slices in half and consume with pleasure without a knife and fork.

                Yes I've been to Naples and yes, I have been to Brandi. Word has it Brandi is all tourist trap these days so maybe it depends on when you tried it if you are using Brandi as a measure. My visit was over 10 years ago.

                1. re: Porthos

                  Love the pizza (and most everything) at Sotto. Pork cheek pizza is fantastic.

                2. re: pizzafreak

                  If you mean Motorino in NYC, I was there in July and while it was "drier" than other Neopolitan pizzas, when my pizza arrived, the very center was starting to become moist and soft. As the meal progressed, I switched from picking up slices to using a knife and fork in order to finish the pizza which was fantastic by the way.

                  1. re: pizzafreak

                    I don't understand the logic between your comparisons.

                    On the same token, you won't get Pauly Gee's dough in Motorino, nor Da Michele's dough in Brandi. So it's obvious you won't get Sotto's dough in any one of those places, as they are not the same establishment.

                    It's all preference and subjective, which is the beauty of Italian cooking. Everone has their own version.
                    Sure there are standard recipes that use the same standard ingredients, but put those same ingredients in the hands of different individuals, and it can yield vastly different results.