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Nov 5, 2012 07:25 AM

Bucato opening In Culver City

Bucato opening In Culver City
Chef Evan Funke, formerly of Rustic Canyon, that has a way with handmade pasta, is opening his own pasta-focused joint, Bucato, and taking over the former Beacon restaurant space at the Helms Bakery Complex in Culver City. If all goes as planned, he expects it to open in mid-December.

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  1. I'm excited! I've been a big Rustic Canyon fan since it opened. Should be good!

    7 Replies
    1. re: CLowe

      Lets hope! Now all CC needs is a GOOD old fashion Chinese restaurant.

      1. re: Baron

        You do realize that is an oxymoron!

        1. re: Baron

          praytell, Baron,
          what IS a good, old fashion chinese restaurant?

          1. re: westsidegal

            I have to tell you? Lets start with ....say...Man fook lo.

          2. re: Baron

            Does hu's not fit your description?

            1. re: goldpackage

              Hu's on National? Went there years ago and had an unpleasant experience. Maybe it was because the place had just been fumigated. Should I give it another chance?

        2. Update:

          Bucato is expected to open Wednesday, July 31.

          3280 Helms Ave.
          Culver City

          2 Replies
          1. re: J.L.

            I stuck my head in last weekend - it's a great space with some gorgeous furniture. I'm really excited to try it!

            1. re: aching

              Cliff Spencer did the woodwork inside. He's very talented.


          2. The original comment has been removed
            1. I am very anxious to go there. Evan Funke is a brilliant chef.

              1. Thanks Myers. I'm going this weekend.

                1. re: Baron

                  As you are going this weekend, Baron, I assume the "same day reservation" policy is not strictly enforced?

                  1. re: maudies5

                    They still have the "same day reservation" policy. I'll probably go tonight. I spoke to them on the phone. Still no menu on line.

                    1. re: myers1935

                      What did you have? And what can you recommend? Going tonight!

                          1. re: chrishei

                            Thanks! Those prices seem reasonable, if my eyes are reading them right. Pastas for $14? Porchetta for $16?

                            1. re: PeterCC

                              Wait, is this the same guy that ran the Porchetta Truck? That porchetta was phenomenal....

                              1. re: ilysla

                                Yep! On their last day of operations, I picked up 3 of those porchetta sandwiches. Mmm. I miss that truck! Can't wait until Bucato starts lunch service. (Easier for me to get out for lunch than for dinner.)

                                  1. re: PeterCC

                                    Oh, yum, yum, yum. If the pasta are really $14, then it certainly sounds worth a try. So sad the porchetta is triple the price, but charging only $5 was like giving it away, so I can't say I blame them....

                                    1. re: ilysla

                                      Well, it's a porchetta entree, not a sandwich.

                                      He told me (that last day of the truck) that he'll do the sandwich again when lunch service starts at Bucato. I'm assuming it'll cost a little more, maybe $8 or $9, to account for the overhead of running a restaurant.

                                      1. re: PeterCC

                                        I was simply going by your post (since I can barely make out any of the text in the pic! Y'all must have very good eyes....).

                                        $8-9 sounds great to me....

                                        1. re: ilysla

                                          FWIW, the menu says "Porchetta della Casa wild arugula, lemon" so it doesn't say it's _not_ a sandwich, but at that price I would be surprised if it wasn't an entree.

                                          1. re: myers1935

                                            And the porchetta? Nice mix of tender bits and crunchy bits, or does it lean more to one side?

                                            1. re: Ciao Bob

                                              Like the leaning tower of P(orchett)isa?

                            2. re: myers1935

                              Just had a great meal at Bucato. Squash blossoms, foccacia, heirloom tomato salad, grilled octopus served on a bed of beans, salad and tomatoes (best I've ever had) a pasta dish, quail served on a bed of beans and salad, great wines by the glass. Best latte ever along with these little puffy doughnut things for desert. The service was above par, the presentation was perfect. Small portions, yes, but that is fine with me. Also very comfortable booths. Came away feeling this was the best dinner I've had lately. I will go back soon.

                    2. Just snagged a rez for tonight..I was very surprised. Someone must have just cancelled - even the woman answering the phone seemed shocked something was available.

                      11 Replies
                      1. re: Ciao Bob

                        Hope it's better than your recent tapas experience....

                        1. re: ilysla

                          Ugggghhhhhhh...you are so right.
                          If only I was a little smarter I would not leap at the chance to try something new, especially something new with a buzz. It would be a great, great buzz kill if Bucato doesn't deliver. I feel I am on a surer footing than I was with Taverna but you never know...

                          1. re: Ciao Bob

                            Taberna had middling reviews and it was Michael Cardenas' bona fides carrying it, though Lazy Ox's reputation was heavily dependent on the chef, Rocher/Centeno. Since Evan Funke is both owner and chef, and reviews so far have been excellent, I agree you're on surer footing here.

                            1. re: PeterCC

                              So tough to predict these things, even when the owner/chef are well-known quantities.

                              1. re: J.L.

                                This will be a great thread: Places the Shoud've, But Didn't

                              2. re: PeterCC

                                Thanks, Peter, for restoring the wind to my....

                                    1. re: bulavinaka

                                      I did work at Pfizer once upon a time.

                                      1. re: PeterCC

                                        But, just for the record, you never worked upon me.

                                  1. re: Ciao Bob

                                    I'd rather be the wind beneath your...

                                    (Ouch, that's a ripped sail. Are you trying to tell me something?)

                          2. Even Funke is the real deal. Really looking forward to this.

                            I hear it's a bit pricey.


                            16 Replies
                            1. re: foodiemahoodie

                              Four of us had a great time. $120 before the tip. Service was exceptional. But we are light eaters. Figure about 50 to 60 per person if you're hungry and a big eater. The portions are small, not expensive so you get lots of great tastes.

                              1. re: Baron

                                Just got back. Portions are very small. Had the pork cheeks tonight and it was two small pieces for $20.

                                Service was impeccable.

                                1. re: PeterCC

                                  And the pork cheeks tasted...?

                                  Can't say I'm happy to hear about the tiny portion size.... =(

                                  1. re: ilysla

                                    It was good. Reminded me more of pork belly, with a thick fatty layer that was crispy on the outside and a meaty layer that was a bit carnitas like.

                                    1. re: PeterCC

                                      ::sigh:: That sounds lovely. Was the taste sufficient that you were satiated even w/ the small portion size, and would you go back? =)

                                      And where is Ciao Bob w/ a report??? ;)

                                      1. re: ilysla

                                        We tried quite a bit, most was real good. Focaccia was excellent. Sardines also quite nice.
                                        Can't say I was overwhelmed. The porchetta was disappointing - no crunchy parts in ours.

                                        1. re: Ciao Bob

                                          hi ciao bob,

                                          you're a healthy eater (at least a person who regularly eats full courses at Shunji, right? :>). so how much was the bill for a hungry bob? :> thanx!

                                          1. re: chowseeker1999

                                            I ate plenty, and it was not very expensive at all. Still, I cannot separate the food from the beverages from the number of us eating, and round it out to anything that will make sense for you - we brought and we bought our own.

                                        2. re: ilysla

                                          In addition to the small portions, prices actually went up for many dishes from the prices on the pic chrishei linked to. The foccacia was $5 last night instead of $4. The pastas were $16, the porcetta was $18.

                                          We (chrishei and I) sat with Bob and his friends, who ordered the porchetta, so he can tell you about it himself*, but I'll just say, unlike from the truck, it didn't look quite up to snuff, so we ordered the pork cheeks instead. We also had the foccacia, the uni, the tortelloni, and meatballs. We had ordered the tagliatelle and the sardines but they were both out for the evening (we were ordering at nearly 11 PM). We also tried the squash blossoms that Bob's friends ordered.

                                          I would say everything that we had was expertly executed and delicious but didn't wow me. Surprisingly probably the best thing I had last night was the squash blossoms. I'm judging solely on its own merits, since I am more carnivore than vegetarian, so I'm predisposed to like the pork cheeks and meatballs, but the squash blossoms impressed me the most in their simplicity and taste.

                                          I would go back, and give them another try. I'm hoping they do what Paiche did and increase their portion sizes.

                                          *I must not have refreshed my page before posting this, but I see he already did.

                                          1. re: PeterCC

                                            The foccacia and tortelloni were the winners of the night for me.

                                            For now, we were told that the menu is changing nightly, based on availability at the farmer's market, etc.

                                            But yeah, Bob's porchetta looked...sad. The pork cheeks were actually better representatives of what we were looking for in the porchetta, but before I could form a solid opinion of the dish we were finished already - the portions were TINY.

                                            Still, like Bob said, it does have promise, and we did go during opening week, so it's a bit unfair to judge too harshly. I will definitely try it again as well. Service was very good by the way, and I really liked the decor.

                                            1. re: chrishei

                                              thanks chris, peter.

                                              by "TINY", are we talking about individual tasting menu portions (or close)? :>

                                              and chris, were you full by the end of the night? and if you were, how much did you pay to be 100% full? thanx!

                                              1. re: chowseeker1999

                                                For me the pork cheeks were two-bite pieces (I could probably one-bite them), and there were only two pieces on the plate. There was what we both thought was a bigger third piece of meat on the plate, but disappointingly it was a grilled piece of bread. Individual tasting menu size is probably a good way to visualize the portions.

                                                I was not full by the end of the night and I almost joked to Chris about going out for a second dinner. The final cost came out to $50/pp including tax and tip, for the following:

                                                Foccacia $5
                                                Meatballs, Uni, Tortelloni* $40
                                                Pork Cheeks $20
                                                2 Beers $11

                                                Those are SINGLE orders of each dish. Definitely not enough for two grown men.

                                                *I can't remember the exact prices of these three dishes but they added up to $40 (total bill before tax and tip was $76). I think the dishes were $10, $14, $16, respectively.

                                                1. re: PeterCC

                                                  thanx Peter!

                                                  wow... as much as i love chef funke's cooking at rustic canyon, those portion sizes and price / value seem awful! :< sigh...

                                    2. re: PeterCC

                                      Was there last night as well. All of the comments below sum it up very well. Portions a bit too small for the $$$. I have confidence they will adjust. I wouldn't mind paying $10 more on the bill to leave happier (e.g. More satiated). That's what we leave the house for, right?

                                      Best dish of the night for me was strascinati, a thicker dumpling like shell, rich with pork and well put together. This hit on all level of rich and salt and silk and was what I was expecting from the chef. Burrata with figs was great, but hard to mess that up when you have good ingredients. Porchetta was 70% fatty with dense meaty parts, didn't work so well for me but I may not get what he's going for there. Son liked octopus since that's how he rolls, and desserts fine but not wow for us. $180 total for 2 adults and a kidlet. That speaks volumes, I'd say.

                                      This is my fave food area of the moment, and I was, frankly, expecting more. I hope Evan is reading this or at least has people he trusts that are saying the same. All the pieces are there. Decor is great, interior bright and not loud at all, beautiful front patio. Servers all. Very warm and helpful, a bit of scurrying as they figure things out, but that will settle down. I have some faith, I think they'll adjust. The hounds once again have it right, just wanted to add my 1 cent. I had 2, but after last night I'm now down to 1. And next time I don't want to run into any other tables at Coolhaus.


                                      1. re: CulverJack

                                        Thanks for all the early reviews. Sounds like the food is fine, but the prices seem a bit too dear for my tastes right now. Will see if subsequent visitors post that the portions sizes have increased b/c making a visit myself (I is a bit of a cheap-o, in that sense....).

                                    3. re: Baron

                                      I have to admit that the portions were very small. Good thing we all had a big lunch so we were not too hungry but all that we had was very good. Maybe they should offer appetizer size and entree size. Great latte. $3'