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Bucato

  • a213b Apr 6, 2014 04:01 PM

I looked around for an older thread to add on to, but couldn't really find anything dedicated solely to Bucato. Well … to be fair I didn't come close to over-exerting myself in the search, so apologies if there has been a recent report.

Went for the first time last night; will certainly not be the last. Between three of us we had:

Focaccia
Arancini
Cauliflower
Crispy Polenta
All 5 pastas (currently posted menu seems to be accurate), thus:

Strascinati w/Ragu Bianco
Cavatelli w/Duck Ragu
Stringozzi Cacio e Pepe
Pappardelle w/Lamb Shoulder
Orecchiette w/Sausage

And finished with Medjool Date cake

(Also had a bottle of the Verdicchio)

After being slightly underwhelmed with both Bestia and Factory Kitchen (just given all the hype), I was really prepared to be let down again. Though a chef friend at a local CH favorite assured me we would be happy.

Holy smokes! This place is fantastic. Not since Sotto have I been so impressed with a new Italian spot. We all loved it … everything.

Every. Single. Bite.

If you haven't been; go.

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  1. I love Bucato. I think I would follow Evan Funke anywhere. That Orecchiette with sausage blew me away as did the Cavatelli with Duck Ragu. Porchetta was to die for. Ditto, stuffed squash blossoms. Agree with you." Every. Single.Bite." The service is also very welcoming and efficient. This is a great restaurant.

    1. and the total tab for three people was. . . .?

      3 Replies
      1. re: westsidegal

        Estimating by past prices, it probably cost ~$200 (including tax and tip). Seems about right in my experiences there. $60-$70/person.

        1. re: BacoMan

          I don't have the receipt in front of me, but think Baco's pretty spot-on: ~ $210

          1. re: a213b

            Did your party have alcohol? If so, that's not a bad price, given how good the food seems to be (I've not been myself)....

            Edit: never mind, just noticed the wine reference in your post.

      2. Totally with you.

        Just wish it was closer/more convenient for me.

        1. Does it still have that absurd reservation policy?

          10 Replies
          1. re: Dirtywextraolives

            Still has that reservation policy. So aggravating, particularly since I know someone who was able to circumvent that policy.

            1. re: maudies5

              Only thing sillier than the reservation policy is the no photo policy.

              The ragu bianco sure is delicious though.

              1. re: Porthos

                Not sure why those are "silly" policies.

                Inconvenient for some, perhaps, but not silly.

                There are legit business reasons for both the reservation and photo policy.

                You (and many others) may not like it but very few things in the world make everyone happy.

                After all, no more silly than the ketchup policy at Father's Office or the substitution policy at Dai Ho, for example.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  Telling customers that they not make reservations even one day in advance is hardly analogous to a no ketchup policy.

                  1. re: maudies5

                    Depends on how much you like ketchup, I suppose.

                  2. re: ipsedixit

                    Silly because have you seen the yelp photos?

                2. re: maudies5

                  Who was able to and how?

                  1. re: BacoMan

                    I'm sure this isn't quite Momo Ko in its early days ... I'd bet there are "Friends of the House" who may book in advance.

                    Though, to be fair, I have absolutely zero evidence of this.

                3. re: Dirtywextraolives

                  I wonder if it has to do with the fact that most of their seating isn't covered for rain.

                  Recently had my first brunch there and surprised how empty it was especially compared to Dijonnaise across the way, maybe for the same reason - no coverage for sun.

                  I really like the fact that eating at Bucato on a Friday or Saturday night is often not unlike eating there any other day of the week, perhaps because of the reservation policy.

                  I'm starting to see the beauty in the absurdity.

                  1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                    Yes, though - for me - it's really not that difficult. Called at 9:30, left a message as directed, and heard back within the hour that we were all set.

                    I can understand why it irritates/infuriates others , though.

                  2. I can't imagine how anyone would be underwhelmed by Bestia. It's borderline perfection.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: TailbackU

                      Well, now you don't have to imagine.

                      I never said it's not good ... but over the four times I've been - though I've certainly enjoyed it - I haven't found it remotely near "borderline perfection".

                      1. re: a213b

                        Yeah. I've eaten at Bestia a number of times. When they first opened I knew they would be very popular, and most likely around to stay.

                        However, that's in large part due to the crowd that was going, and the atmosphere they constructed.

                        The food has always been quite good, but "perfection"? Haven't found it. Maybe I haven't had the right dishes.

                        On the other hand, Bestia is God's own restaurant in comparison to the Factory Kitchen.

                        But Bucato, to me, has been a transcendent experience every time I've been. I only had one dish I thought was just ok (the pesto pasta). Everything else has been basically mind-blowingly excellent.

                        1. re: BacoMan

                          +1

                    2. Went back and had yet another fantastic meal.

                      Still cannot bring myself to move past the pastas and into the mains ... one day, one day.

                      Aside from the usual highlights, we also tried the Squash Blossoms, which were fantastic. Perfectly fried, light and crispy, and not greasy at all.

                      We also had the meatballs, which while tasty have probably been the item I've enjoyed the least.

                      Still, all in all another fantastic meal.

                      I was also told that they plan on covering the front patio. I'm curious to see if this will impact their reservations process, as the website chalks the "same day only" current system up to the vagaries of weather.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: a213b

                        Try the roast chicken. It is wonderful!

                        We're going today for the burger. I kind of wish they had some of their other menu available too but just the burger.

                      2. Finally got a chance to try this place last night (had been having a hard wk, so decided to treat myself + partner). Everything was FANTASTIC. Plin bread was marvelous, orechiette and pappardelle were delicious, as was the fried cauliflower (although my partner found it a bit too oily for his taste). The crispy polenta was good, but I don't know if I'd feel the need to order it again unless I were in a big group (it's quite heavy and slathered in a [tasty] sauce). I was expecting a "dried" preparation.

                        Damage (incl glass of wine) was ~$80 (incl tax but not tip). Polite and efficient service. Totally worth it for the quality of the food.

                        1. Yes I agree, Bucato is legit, and alongside Sotto, they're my favorite Italian places in LA. For me, some Brentwood Italian has its place, as it's a little more "classic" for lack of a better term, but Bucato and Sotto are the most exciting and delicious right now. Bestia and The Factory Kitchen were a let down for me too, and I ordered to the hilt to try everything (except dessert), but nothing really impressed...and nothing gave me an indication that it would get any better. Not bad at all just not great in any way. You would never tell from Eater or Yelp, but Bucato and Sotto serve much better food than Bestia or Factory Kitchen - textures, flavors, proportions of ingredients, etc. are all noticably more on point.

                          If only Bucato were easier to get into! I absolutely understand the no photo policy and honestly I appreciate it as a patron. Darling of a place.

                          Cheers,
                          Ambrose

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: markambrose73

                            It's really not so hard to get into. Myth perpetuated. We've never been shut down (4, 5 times?) and I've heard they're pretty accommodating to walk ins. Still, they should ease up on same day res. They say they do it because their patio is weather dependent but let's be real, when is it going to rain?

                            1. re: markambrose73

                              Interesting, I consider Sotto the worst of the new wave Italian places. Aka Factory Kitchen, Bestia, and Bucato. To each their own I guess.

                              1. re: set0312

                                I understand - maybe you caught them on a bad night, or maybe I went to Bestia and Factory Kitchen on an off time? I also ordered differently - more appetizers and pastas at Sotto, but more salads and meats at Bestia and Factory Kitchen. Bestia and Factory Kitchen were not bad by any means, I just did not find them great, especially Bestia which felt like it's trendy and hyped vs. having real winsome food. Generally tasty but hamfisted and lacking attention to textures and proportions. Also, sometimes restaurants aren't always the most consistent. With that said, I respect your opinion and perhaps I have to give all of them another try. So far, Bucato's been great for me, so count me a fan.

                                Best,
                                Ambrose

                              2. re: markambrose73

                                If maccheroni di busa is on the menu, get it. The texture is unbelievable. All the pastas are incredible but I could eat that and the orecchiette every single day. Seriously. The pork chop was HUGE and inexpensive, and very sharable. I found myself gnawing on the bone. I appreciate that their menu is very tight and changes just enough to keep it interesting. I've been 5 or 6 times since they opened just about a year ago, which is saying a lot given all the dining choices in LA. I think dessert is their weak spot but that's not a huge problem for me. My absolute favorite Italian right now.

                                1. re: soniabegonia

                                  >> I think dessert is their weak spot but that's not a huge problem for me. <<

                                  Not a problem for me either, since freakin' Bulgarini Gelato is literally right across the street!

                                  1. re: J.L.

                                    Is it really??? Argh! Been wanting to try that place, and didn't realize it was right there. Although it's okay b/c we were stuffed silly.

                                    To markambrose, I also really enjoyed Sotto the one time I went there. Just wish the waiting area were bigger! (although, fortunately, we didn't need to wait long at all).

                                    The patios at Bucato looked quite nice, but we thought the interior decor was quite pleasant. Bright, clean, not too noisy. Would be very happy to return to try the whole menu. =)

                              3. I have dined at The Factory Kitchen twice in the last 2 weeks. Love that restaurant. However, all things considered, I prefer the pasta at Bucato. The only reason we don't return more often is the reservation call on same day policy. Makes it difficult to make dinner plans with friends

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: maudies5

                                  I really like the pasta there too. The steak is awesome too.

                                2. I went last week and sat at the bar, waiting for my party of four to trickle in, and just stayed there for the meal. I had a nice view of the wood burning oven. I did not pay for the meal, nor did I see the bill. I would go back with very, very little nudging.

                                  I requested something sparkling as a drink to start, and we ended up sharing a bottle of a rose sparkling wine. I believe the bartender said it was Spanish. I had a couple glasses of this, and nothing else. I didn't get a look at what other people in my party drank, other than one was a burgundy and one was a zinfandel. The restaurant is known for house made, hand torn pasta.

                                  We ordered

                                  Filone bread with butter--the wood burning oven and fantastic baker made this bread so freaking good. I want to go back, pay $5 for another order, and not share with anyone. If I could pay and get bread this good everywhere, I would.

                                  Squash blossoms--served whole, stems included. The batter was a little sweet, and entire effect reminded us of tempura.

                                  Panzanella salad--I've had a lot of fantastic tomatoes this year--maybe the drought makes them sweeter? Maybe it's because I do most of my produce shopping at the Santa Monica farmer's market. Whatever, I liked it, all my dining companions loved it.

                                  Melon with red shishito peppers--composed of chunks of cantaloupe, slices of red shishito peppers, chopped pistachios, and drizzled olive oil. This was one of my favorite dishes of the night. It's late July, and this dish had the whole night (with the gorgeous stem ware, the slightly precious wait staff, and the menacing chef de cuisine) all encapsulated, because I don't think I could have gotten that presentation with the high quality of ingredients anywhere else. Give it six months, a head chef will quit, a vendor will go out of business, and this will start to fall apart. Right now, though, it was perfect.

                                  The following is listed in order of service. If I go again, and had to repeat from the below, I'd be most interested in numbers 1 and 4.

                                  Stringozzi cacio de pepe--great, and like a punch of black pepper to the nose

                                  Maccheroni de Busa duck ragu, pecorino sardo

                                  Pici ragu toscano

                                  Orecchiette pork belly sausage sugo, sprouting broccoli, chilis--my other favorite dish. Really really fantastic.

                                  Each of us got dessert--two got gelato, one got a carrot tiramisu, and I got chocolate torte. Again, if and when I go again, I'll skip dessert. I should have ordered an espresso instead.

                                  1. Had dinner at Bucato for the 1st time today...early dinner...walked in around 5:15 and sat at the bar...filone with an order of meatballs...outta sight as we used to say...crunchy, airy bread...meatballs spicy with a spicy arugula on top...

                                    i was already suffering from food intoxication when the orecchiette arrived...just the thick chewy pasta ive been craving for weeks! a small order of pasta, at least compared to the typical Italian-American style of heaping servings but that was ok as i didnt walk out feeling like i was pregnant, tho next time i could order two pastas! what can i say, im a glutten for good shit! and, of course, sorry but NO PHOTOS! i can live with that!

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: lapizzamaven

                                      Pasta gluten for punishment?!

                                      1. re: nosh

                                        yes, im a glutten for gluten