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PASTA - LA Dish of the Month (February 2014)

PASTA - LA Dish of the Month (February 2014)

The dish of the month for Los Angeles for February 2014 is Pasta.

Here's a link to the voting thread:

The goal is to collectively try as many different varieties, kinds and types of pasta and pasta-based dishes. Anything pasta-related is fair game - no matter the region, preparation, ethnicity, type, shape, etc. And, it goes without saying, that telling us of fabulous places to find pasta (and all of its derivative forms) that you've been to in the past is great, and recounting vivid memories is also fun, but what we want are real-live, current progress reports of what and where you are finding and eating dough-based goodness.

So let's start exploring and eating—report back with reviews and photos.

Happy Lunary New Year.

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  1. Finally, my kind of DOM! I'm getting in on this one for sure!

    1 Reply
    1. are ramen, pho and other asian noodle soups and dishes fair game in this one? do dumplings (potstickers, things like that) also count?


      15 Replies
      1. re: linus

        As I mentioned up above, all types and kinds of pasta are fair game. So, yeah, Asian-style noodles and noodle soups would of course work here.

        But dumplings? No one is going to castrate you for posting a dumpling report on a Dumpling DoTM, but if you can get up the next morning and look yourself in the mirror and feel good about yourself as a Chowhound after posting a report about potstickers on the February 2014 DoTM thread devoted to "Pasta" then more power to you I suppose.

        1. re: ipsedixit

          Dumplings are a grey area. While it never would have occurred to me that someone would post a potsticker review in a pasta thread, it also never would have occurred to me that someone NOT post a ravioli review... :/

          1. re: whiner

            My it sure is slippery on that slope.

            1. re: whiner

              To me pasta connotes that it is made with egg. It would thus exclude the Asian noodles (pasta being a subcategory of noodles). So that would include ravioli but exclude Asian dumplings but not gnocchi dumplings. But that's just the way I use the word pasta.

              1. re: Porthos

                To me pasta connotes that it is made with egg. It would thus exclude the Asian noodles (pasta being a subcategory of noodles).

                What about, for example, Chinese egg noodles, typically found in lo mein or chow mein?

                Would that not count? Or do you exclude "Chinese" in the way you use the word "Asian"?

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  In that case Chinese egg noodles would count. That's why I defined pasta by ingredient and not east vs west.

                  Your analogy is backwards. Chinese would be akin to pasta and noodles would be Asian. So Chinese is more specific and doesn't include all Asian : Pasta is more specific and doesn't include all noodles.

                  Not all Asians are Chinese : Not all Noodles are Pasta.

                  All Chinese are Asian : All pasta are noodles.

                  Bit of SAT word association flashback for ya! ;)

                  1. re: Porthos

                    And Portos prolly got a perfectly score on that crap.

                    1. re: Porthos

                      Porthos, I meant.

                      Spelling typo earlier.

                      Please don't get pissed.

                      1. re: Porthos

                        I have an entire cookbook that takes the opposite approach: pasta = no egg, noodles = egg.

                        I have not checked if this was/remains accurate, but, "By federal law, a noodle is a paste made of flour, water, and a minimum of 5.5 percent egg solids .... Macaroni and spaghetti.are a paste made of flour and water, no eggs."
                        "The Great International Noodle Experience," Karen Green, Atheneum, '77

                        I suspect one's background influences one's definition: In my Jewish/Hungarian family, "noodles" were never "pasta," a term I learned as an adult, but always made with eggs. Among Italians, I think it's regional.

                    2. re: Porthos

                      Porthos, I think you better redefine pasta. All Italian pasta does not contain egg - i.e. the "string pastas": spagetti, bignoli, etc and usually the flat pastas - linguine, tagliatelle (although egg versions of these are also made) - as well as the provincial specialities like trofie, scialatelli, orrechetinni, etc. Durum wheat and water only are used The egg is added to ravioli, canelloni, etc to make it more malleable for stuffing, and to some European-style pastas (especially Alsatian versions) yo make them richer in flavour.

                      1. re: Piggyinthemiddle

                        How would you define pasta vs noodle? Or are they the same?

                        1. re: Porthos

                          Didn't these boards agree that pasta = durum wheat and/or egg; noodles are a type of pasta, but no durum wheat?

                    3. re: whiner

                      Wouldn't that technically be PASTA with RED MEAT?

                    4. re: ipsedixit

                      i don't usually get up in the morning and feel good about myself about anything, but that's just the wonder of me.

                      1. re: linus

                        Hahaha. Now that's what I'm talking about.

                        Aren't we really dealing with semantics in these dozen posts so far ?????

                        For crissakes sake, let's get to the chow already.

                  2. ShopHouse
                    Rice Noodles (that's pasta to me I suppose) with Pork-Chicken Meatballs and Red Curry!

                    1. While you guys debate pasta vs noodles, I'll throw down the first pasta DOTM.

                      I just got back from lunch @ my friendly neighborhood Italian joint All' Angolo. I had one of their daily specials---the short rib ravioli with a sage/butter sauce. It was a perfect "chilly" afternoon meal---the short rib filling had a hint of sweetness, the pasta was cooked correctly and the sauce did a nice job of pulling the flavors together. Very good. Since my last visit, they changed their gratis bread from pizza dough w/ some marinara to pizza dough w/ rosemary. It could have been cooked a little toastier, but was tasty with the dredged up sage/butter. They now also have beer & wine.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: LAgirl2

                        How was the service? It's been so scattered our last few times there that we transferred our business to Maccheroni Republic.

                        1. re: JeMange

                          The service was fine---we were there for an early dinner so it wasn't crowded. The waitress seemed new and not that comfortable, but friendly. When they first opened, the owner was there a lot and doing serving in addition to some food prep. I think now his staff is mostly running the restaurant. I usually get my food to go since they are around the corner from me so I haven't run into any truly bad service issues.

                      2. Uni pasta at EMC.

                        Surprisingly good considering the reviews here.

                        Skip the oysters. Gratuitous shots of spicy fried lobster, grilled lobster, and crab kicking crab style. All winners. Abalone congee also great.

                        Grilled lobster perfect with 2000 Coche Enseigneres.

                        7 Replies
                          1. re: JAB

                            Corkage $20 per. We would have preferred $10-15 but the food was so good we didn't really care.

                            1. re: JAB

                              >> Impressive line up. <<

                              For serious. Good job, Porthos.

                              1. re: Searching4Dunny

                                3500 W 6th St, Ste 101,
                                Los Angeles, CA 90020

                                Near the purple line at Wilshire and Normandie

                              2. re: Porthos

                                Porthos, this was all from EMC, right ?????

                                It looks really great. And gratuitous and borderline explicit.

                              3. By leaps and bounds the best pasta I've had this month - is the sea urchin linguine from Angelini Osteria.

                                I'm sighing just thinking about it. In fact, I think I'm going to make some tonight. (what's so great about Nijiya? Open 'till 11;45 Monday thru Sunday).

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: foodiemahoodie

                                  Really? Better than the uni with squid ink bottarga spaghetti at Bestia? For me, that's the best in town.

                                  1. re: Porthos

                                    Really. ? I want at all a fan of the bestia Uni spahagtei.

                                    1. re: Porthos

                                      The mussels in the broth was way way way better along with the smoked mackerel and burrata.

                                      I haven't tried their pizzas yet.

                                      But the Pann's cotta was good too.

                                    2. re: foodiemahoodie

                                      I may try that at Angelini ????

                                      It's off menu right ? Do they serve it at lunch too ?

                                      Thanks. I needed a reason to get back to the Osteria and I forgot it still existed since I sadly sometimes take it for granted.

                                    3. Two very good pastas at Osteria Mozza last night, a delicious tagliolini with lobster and roasted sea urchin (though I miss the former pasta fredo with crab and sea urchin) and an intense one called "Tongue and Cheek"--tongue shaped pasta with veal cheek in a rich veal jus.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: New Trial

                                        One of my favorite dishes in all of LA is Osteria Mozza's Ricotta & Egg Raviolo
                                        with browned butter

                                        1. re: wienermobile

                                          Yes, I loved the egg ravioli with browned butter at Mozza Osteria. I dream about it occasionally.

                                      2. Had my favorite last night at Superba Snack Bar their
                                        smoked bucatini carbonara, poached egg, pancetta, pepper & parm. My son had a new dish their squid ink chitarra with bryan’s chorizo, mussels & heirloom tomatoes. And of course we started with the chicken liver mousse. Love the smoked pasta flavor. A Great meal.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: wienermobile

                                          I love that bucatini - it is a perfect dish.

                                          1. re: wienermobile

                                            One of the things I really enjoy about Superba is that they are always adding great and interesting new pastas (though it means some others I've come to enjoy have to come off) and, in a pinch, that wonderful bucatini is always there.

                                            1. re: New Trial

                                              At Superba I really want to try their gnocchi, braised lamb pancetta, mint & olive sugo. Any one try it yet?

                                              Another newer dish is their jerusalem artichoke ravioli, smoked ham, vin cotto & sage

                                              I also really like their tagliatelle, Dungeness crab, uni, wakame & jalapeño miso butter. A very nice saltiness.

                                              1. re: wienermobile

                                                I find a lot of their dishes are salty, but deliciously so.

                                          2. Never had any pasta like the pan fried noodles at Sea Harbour...perfect pasta tubes that i am craving intensely!

                                            1. Lovely picaggette with braised veal in a tomato sauce at Factory Kitchen tonight.

                                              Fresh pasta is such a treat, and the sauce was delicious. And as a special bonus, the tomato sauce also served to cut the richness of the porchetta.

                                              1. Il Grano's Paccheri al Ragu and Fagiano pappardelle. Both were fantastic. The pasta itself had great texture and bite. Properly cooked al dente. Nice contrast to with the 2 dishes.

                                                Paccheri - Smooth filling of beef ragu stuffed in thick pasta tubes (paccheri) with a fresh tomato sauce and creamy ricotta and basil oil.

                                                Pappardelle - Pheasant slow braised in Borolo and rosemary and tossed with wide-cut egg pasta.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. The oxtail-filled pasta at Bestia. It has a currant pine nut sauce and the pasta has a bit of cacao in it. To die for.

                                                  5 Replies
                                                  1. re: lrstone

                                                    Don't know if it counts as pasta but I love those oxtail noodles at Sea Harbour,

                                                    1. re: wienermobile

                                                      Man that looks good! Oxtails are one of those things that I don't like to eat in public.

                                                      1. re: wienermobile

                                                        I didn't know you were a fan of Sea Harbour though the table in the picture looks like checkered tablecloth.

                                                        1. re: kevin

                                                          Kevin you are correct. The picture is from web, The bowl was wrong, good catch on the tablecloth too. here is the correct photo from Sea Harbour and their oxtail noodles

                                                          1. re: wienermobile

                                                            Stop getting so lazy and take your own pictures !!!! :)

                                                    2. Piccolo in Venice has a killer agnolotti filled with oxtail and served with an oxtail ragu.

                                                      No pics, but super rich. I love the way they 'POP' in your mouth releasing that hot filling.

                                                      1. Tarantino's Pasta with Meat Sauce (with some Marinara in there too) is probably my most favorite red-sauce pasta.
                                                        Also, I know it is a chain, but the Butternut Squash Ravioli with Browned Sage Butter from Louise's Trattoria is amazing. I now make it at home.

                                                        1. I went to Scarpetta BH again last night. Ridiculously good. Amazing service and wine list. I had to be rolled out of that place I was so stuffed.

                                                          The spaghetti with tomato and basil was as good as ever. Beautiful al dente.

                                                          One thing the server noted was that the pasta is actually cooked IN the sauce, rather than boiled and finished in the sauce.

                                                          Top notch!

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: Novelli

                                                            the server was wrong. the pasta is cooked and then finished in the sauce with a bit of the pasta water.

                                                            still great though.

                                                          2. Had the Rigatoni with Chicken Liver Ragu at Sotto last night. Fantastic.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: Thor123

                                                              That's my favorite pasta dish there these days.

                                                            2. Ceppo Huntington Beach for DOM and for our boy Kevin:


                                                              Got the:

                                                              -spaghetti bolognese. Tasty. Slightly sweet.

                                                              -linguine with anchovy, breadcrumbs, and broccoli. Favorite dish of the night. Nice anchovy perfume with the texture of the breadcrumbs contrasting the pasta.

                                                              -carbonara. Made with cream, caramalized onions, and thinly sliced bacon. Non traditional but tasty nonetheless.

                                                              A nice neighborhood osteria serving simple well made al dente pasta with a hint of Japanese influence.

                                                              Corkage $10

                                                              12 Replies
                                                              1. re: Porthos

                                                                Did you get a chance to chat with Tommy Harase?

                                                                  1. re: kevin

                                                                    A quick Google reveals that the spelling is Tommy. Try it yourself.


                                                                    1. re: J.L.

                                                                      I guess the chef doesn't know how to spell his own name then. He should have Googled first. (g) http://www.ceppohb.com/about-us.html

                                                                      1. re: Servorg

                                                                        That means I was possible right in the spelling of his name ?????

                                                                        Take that JL ... Please. :)

                                                                        1. re: kevin

                                                                          Nah - you were wrong too. It's Tomi... (g)

                                                                          1. re: Servorg

                                                                            I knew it was an "i" and I got that correct, right ????????? :)

                                                                            1. re: kevin

                                                                              At the Scripps National Spelling Bee you would still be taking that long walk of shame off the stage...

                                                                        2. re: Servorg

                                                                          I stand corrected. BUT in my defense I have met the man himself at Nouveau Cafe Blanc, and his business card said Tommy. But that was back then.

                                                                          In any case, thanks for the correction.

                                                                          1. re: J.L.

                                                                            I loved Nouveau Cafe Blanc just as much as Shunjis.

                                                                    2. re: J.L.

                                                                      Nope. They were actually pretty busy that night. He stopped by to chat with some party that brought him a bouquet of roses though.

                                                                    3. re: Porthos

                                                                      Have you ever been to Basilico's Pasta Y Vino for the Mezze Mezze?

                                                                    4. I had the buccatini carbonara at Gusto the other night--it was quite good but not as memorable as the version at Superba.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: New Trial

                                                                        i just had the oxtail agnolotti at gusto and it was incredible. rich and unctuous.

                                                                      2. I went to Drago Centro last week. Had the garganelli with pork sausage and fennel seeds. Big serving! Nice bite to them from the hard durum wheat.

                                                                        Also tried the burrata and duck. Beautifully cooked. Girlfriend had the swordfish. Juicy as hell.
                                                                        Sorry for the bad pics. The place was dark and I'm very conscience of flash and hate waiting for pics, so these were rushed.

                                                                        1. The house made corzettii pasta with a slow stewed pork ragu and fennel pollen, at the Tasting Kitchen on Valentines Day for dinner. Incredibly tender pork in a dark, rich tasty ragu. The corzettii are disk shapes with ridges that were cooked perfectly al dente and worked very well with the rich ragu. Absolutely delicious, would order it again if it's still listed on the menu.

                                                                          1. I'm somewhat obsessed with the lemon spaghetti at Terroni (Spaghetti Al Limone). It's perfect and I'm craving it right now.

                                                                            1. I had the cavatelli with eggplant at Terroni (DTLA) for lunch today. It was pretty meh - nothing really wrong with it, but it didn't excite me.

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: aching

                                                                                Is that the Nonna? (I think that's what it's called.) Or maybe Norma?

                                                                                1. re: schrutefarms

                                                                                  Yes, Cavatelli alla Norma (cavatelli in a light tomato sauce with deep fried eggplant, aged ricotta, basil and garlic).

                                                                                  1. re: aching

                                                                                    I love that one, but then again, I love anything with eggplant.

                                                                              2. I ended the month, the same way that I started it---with pasta. We had an office lunch today @ Osteria Mamma. Some really lovely gnocchi al porcini that was perfect for a rainy LA afternoon.

                                                                                1. A day late but pasta at Playground.

                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: JAB

                                                                                        Hillary's Saganarelli, baby leeks, artichokes, kale sprouts, ricotta.

                                                                                        Utterly hammered.

                                                                                        1. re: Porthos

                                                                                          Thanks. Impressive line up as usual. Drive safe!

                                                                                            1. re: Porthos

                                                                                              Cool, I didn't even realize they were in OC.

                                                                                    1. Way late with this post, but we had an early dinner last weekend at Del Rey Kitchen (at the Culver Blvd/Braddock Dr junction, a few blocks off the 90 freeway). Their food has been very consistent and tasty. I ordered their Spicy Caviar Pasta. The brief description is straight off their menu, "Karashi Mentaiko, Icelandic Masago, Nori, Secret Butter Sauce."
                                                                                      Umami freaks rejoice - dee-rih-sha-su.

                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: bulavinaka

                                                                                        What does dee-rih-sha-su.mean ????????????????

                                                                                        1. re: kevin

                                                                                          My dad with his thick Japanese accent attempting to say,"Delicious."

                                                                                        2. re: bulavinaka

                                                                                          I just had that a couple of weeks and it's very good. Usually when I'm in a mood for a pasta there, I've been getting their carbonara. Their version is really good, creamy rich but not overly fatty and filling. I like that they leave the bowl of parmesan on your table for those people who really want that extra cheese.

                                                                                          I had a bite of a friend's mixed mushroom pasta and it was also really good. I really haven't had a dish I've disliked there. It's always hard to resist their flan for dessert.

                                                                                          Also I asked if they were going to serve the coffee jello dessert that used to be available at Sawtelle Kitchen. They said they are considering it but would need a more steady crowd before they do it since it's not something that can sit around too long.

                                                                                        3. Read Beets tagliolini with a quail ragout on top of a taleggio cheese fondue.
                                                                                          Very gooooooooooooD!!

                                                                                          1. A month late to this party, but I do have a worthy contribution:

                                                                                            This week's special penne all'arancia from Chef Gargani at Clusi Batusi: A perfect combination of spring vegetables, duck breast, and penne al dente...

                                                                                            p.s. Pleading with the IT crew at CH to rotate my photo 90-degrees.

                                                                                            30 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: J.L.

                                                                                              Is that a pizza there ???? It looks better than the crap at Mozza, no joke. :)

                                                                                              1. re: kevin

                                                                                                Yes, kevin, it is indeed pretty a damn good margherita pizza.

                                                                                                It's a shame that Clusi Batusi doesn't get as much play on this board simply because it's an Italian restaurant on the otherwise very Asian-centric Sawtelle Blvd. There is some fantastic cooking going on there.

                                                                                                1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                  Yeah, usually you'll find me at Kiriko grabbing a copious number of my tamagoyaki. And maybe a roasted sweet potato ice cream or black truffle ice cream to boot.

                                                                                                  btw, this past year did you happen to try the white truffle Ice cream there ????? I think I only had the black truffle varietal this year.

                                                                                                  1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                    Ok, I will check out Cutie Batutie.

                                                                                                    it is a funny, idiosnycnaratic name for a joint.

                                                                                                    my apolgoeis for the misspellings today, I'm on a dead,ine;

                                                                                                    1. re: kevin

                                                                                                      You're killin me. As usual.

                                                                                                      Cutie batutie...

                                                                                                      Isn't that a chain, btw? Maybe that's why it's gets no love here....just sayin. Never been myself so I have no opinion.

                                                                                                      1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                        Website only lists one location. The owner (who actually served us once) looks quite young, so I'd be shocked if it were a chain....

                                                                                                        Definitely worth a try. I've only had the spaghetti alla gricia (sp? It's so tasty I haven't wanted to try anything else), but it's one of the closest things in taste to the stuff I had in Italy I've found in LA (but I haven't been to a ton of the high-end Italian places in the city, though).

                                                                                                        1. re: ilysla

                                                                                                          Helming the kitchen at Clusi Batusi is Chef Michele Gargani, who hails from Sinalunga in the Tuscany region.

                                                                                                          The spaghetti puttanesca is a regular item on the menu, and it is outstanding in its clarity of taste and simplicity.

                                                                                                          1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                            QUOTE: "it is outstanding in its clarity of taste and simplicity"

                                                                                                            Yes, this, applies to the alla gricia, too. In fact, your description above is what I would apply to Italian food in Italy, generally. =)

                                                                                                            My friend had the puttanesca and loved it. But I'm such a creature of habit.... Will have to think about it.

                                                                                                              1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                                yeah, Jl Lyssla, no one seems to mention this joint at all.

                                                                                                                Where is it even located along the Little Osaka Sawtelle Corridor ????

                                                                                                                The prices sounds decent especially to me who is no baller like most hounds.

                                                                                                            1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                              Is Michele a girl or a guy ???????????

                                                                                                                1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                  Ahem. As I've informed you before, kevin, I'm a guy.

                                                                                                                  I think I should choose a different screen name....

                                                                                                                    1. re: ilysla

                                                                                                                      ... or kevin should actually remember better.

                                                                                                                      On the other hand, MachoManlyManLA has a nice ring to it...

                                                                                                                      1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                                        Hmmmm.... So M3_LA? I'm actually half serious....

                                                                                                                          1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                                            What's that, a battleship coordinate???

                                                                                                                              1. re: JAB

                                                                                                                                My favorite iteration of the BMW M3.

                                                                                                                                1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                                                  Alas, I'm more of a non-AMG MB kind of guy.... ::sigh::


                                                                                                                                  Your straight six will be returning shortly....

                                                                                                                                    1. re: ilysla

                                                                                                                                      ... and there's your new CH handle:


                                                                                                                                      1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                                                        Oh, but mentioning cars in the screen name is so... bourgeoisie. ;)

                                                                                                                                        Before I drag the thread even more off-thread, I think I'm going to take a couple more days to think about my new name and then I'll re-emerge, like a butterfly (or, at the very least, like TheOffalo nee PeterCC).

                                                                                                                                        No problem, kevin.

                                                                                                                              2. re: ilysla

                                                                                                                                I like M3LA too.

                                                                                                                                I'll remember better that way along with the deviration of the handle.

                                                                                                                            1. re: ilysla

                                                                                                                              My apologies.

                                                                                                                              Sometimes my dyslexia kicks in with an utter vengeance.

                                                                                                                              And sadly I have a proclivity for scanning screen handles.

                                                                                                                  1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                                    Thanks J.L.
                                                                                                                    I am putting Clusi high on my chowdar screen.

                                                                                                              1. Also very late to this thread (as I apparently was the mortgage payment.... oy). Had the pappardelle w/ mushroom ragu at Flores last night. Absolutely fantastic (apparently they make the pasta in-house). My partner and I were already stuffed from the other dishes we had, but we forced ourselves to finish the pasta b/c it was SO delicious. ~$17.

                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: ilysla

                                                                                                                    Ah, yes - I had that same wonderful mushroom ragu dish (except it was house-made tagliolini) 3 weeks ago at Flores (see my crappy photo).

                                                                                                                    Yummy stuff indeed.

                                                                                                                    1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                                      It is beyond crappy. But you already knew that of course.

                                                                                                                      Please go back to photography school, get your education, and then repost.

                                                                                                                      But until then, no more photos for you.

                                                                                                                      1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                                        Hmmmm... that's exactly what ours looked like. I assume I got the pasta names mixed up? ::sigh::