Jonathan Gold's Best Dishes of 2013
Jonathan Gold's LA Times Best Dishes in LA 2013
1) Potato puree at Trois Mec
2) Mandilli (handkerchief pasta) with pesto at Factory Kitchen
3) Rhode Island clam chowder at Connie & Ted's
4) Boiled fish with green pepper sauce at Chengdu Taste
5) Tomahawk chop at Chi Spacca
6) Biscuits at Hart & the Hunter
7) Hinoki-scented black cod at Hinoki & the Bird
8) Rabbit-tobacco-smoked salmon at Girasol
9) Risotto alla pilota at Barnyard
10) Squash, Oaxacan cheese and burnt tomato tacos at Guerrilla Tacos
Is your favorite dish missing, is there something that doesn't belong?
To each their own. Bucato might be excellent, but IMO Factory kitchen is excellent as well.
In fact the Mandilli that Gold named is one of my favorite L.A. dishes of 2013 as well. When the first pitched it to me I did not even want to order it, but my dining companions did. We all loved it. Now I've been there 4-5 times and had it every time. My wife and every one of the dozen or so people we've been with really liked it too. It's simple but delicious in texture and flavor.
I think the whole place is very enjoyable. Most of it is not complicated food, but it tastes great. The burrata prosciutto appie is excellent, most of the other pastas are good, the beef is fantastic and the porcetta is very good. Desserts are above average.
I like a cushy room but the chairs are comfortable and the din is not really obtrusive.
I might vote for a deeper winelist and unlimited corkage, but it is certainly better in that respect than places like Bestia, Orsa, or Trois Mec.
re: john gonzales
You clearly went to a different restaurant than I did.
Yeah, the porchetta was good, but not mind-blowing. I guess I must've made a mistake in not ordering the Mandilli. Is that the only good pasta? Because the pasta I was was remarkably weak. The pastas at Maccheroni Republic were better, which should not be the case since the ones at FK are priced at about twice the price (relative to portion size).
The focacci de recco was a complete joke. It was very doughy, the cheese was just ok. The only thing that saved it from being basically something heated from a Trader Joe's freezer section was the proscuitto on top.
I would say that anyone that things that is legitimate ought to go to Chi Spacca, where Chad Colby worked on his focaccia de recco recipe for years before debuting it, and specifically spent time in Italy learning how to get the dough just right for it. Once you eat that, you will realize how pretentious FK's rendition is. I hate feeling taking for a ride, and I felt very taken at FK.
I also had some steamed vegetables (given some high-brow name of course) that were basically awful.
There is no excuse to pay $60+ per person to eat food that is not perfectly prepared in LA at this point.
And while the Cannoli were ok, to say "above average" makes me wonder where you've been eating dessert in LA. Have you eaten Red Medicine's Coconut Bavarios? Tar and Roses Strawberry Ricotta Crostata? Chi Spacca's Tiramisu? Salt's Cure's Grapefruit Pie?
Seems the original post was about Gold naming the FK mandilli one of his best dishes. You replied by saying that anything at Bucato would be better. That sounds reasonable, as Bucato is tasty, aside from the fact that you've never even had the FK mandilli. So really, you're guessing on that.
As to Factory Kitchen being "a joke", we all get our opinion. You're entitled to yours, which I acknowledge. But yours is the 1 in 20 opinion, and a good number of those seem to concentrate on the price. No need to try and qualify what I've eaten, as people have different likes, but mine is not an inexperienced opinion. That includes having been to FK 4-5 times and having a lot of dishes. So I have a take, and Jonathan Gold's review seems to agee.
Look, I said "excellent" about the place. Not great. I would expect the pasatas at Maccheroni to cost less, it's more low-key.
Are you aware of who the chef/part-owner is at FK? It seems as though you question their legitimacy. Angelo Auriana was the chef at Valentino for some 15 years. His cooking put them on the map and they won James Beard awards. I think it was Forbes or GQ that called his next stop Masque one of the best new Italian restaurants in the US, and then he went to Farina. Oh and while Colby may (respectedly) have travelled to Italy, Angelo IS Italian and trained there. Since he is from Milan about 100 miles from Recco, I'd guess he knows what a legitimate Focc. de Recco is. That does not mean that yours was good, but I would not conclude that a dilettante conceived it. Gold, btw, liked it in his review. I will say that I agree that it is doughy inside and it isn't one of my favorite orders there or anywhere. I've gravitated toward the sage bread burrata prosciutto thing.
Veggies? Never awful to me, but not a strong point. Though the beet gratin (more of an app with cheese) is very good.
Agreed the porchetta is not "mind-blowing". Gold, Porthos and I seemed to like it much better than you did. In fact, overall Porthos seemed to find FK far better than you did as well. IMO their Porchetta is tasty, and one of the best in LA. As I said elsewhere, I think the beef it excellent and the duck just a notch below it.
I found the Cannoli quite good. They make the shells and the orange hint gives it a nice touch. I said the desserts were above average and I eat a ton of desserts. I have not had the four you mentioned (though I've been to three o the restos). Perhaps those are great. But to me one has to exit above average to very good, to excellent, to even get to great. Doing some math, there must be 1000 good restaurants in LA. At 4 each, that's 4000 desserts. So you'll need to add 2000 to the list to make FK not above average. But again, they are not a big strength there. I'd get the cannoli and maybe the crostata and be satisfied.
Anyhow, that was for someone else curious and a counterpoint to your view. I wouldn't expect to change your mind and vice-versa.
I will say that, food aside, I find Angelo to be an incredibly gracious and welcoming chef.