Notes from LA: The Factory Kitchen

February 20, 2014

Driving to Factory Kitchen you have to go slowly to avoid hitting the street people. They wander into your path, wheeling their heaped grocery carts with aggressive intent: these streets belong to them. In the inky blackness of the night, the bright, buzzy room beckons like an oasis, Inside, people look at each other knowingly; how smart of us to have found this charming room, this wonderful Italian food. 

To begin. Starters include this rather brilliant beet casserole, a gluten-free lasagna of sorts, layered beets with melted asiago cheese.

Beets

And this crisp ballon of fried sage dough topped with proscuitto:

Ham

But the most-talked about dish is this focaccina di Recco, a fantastic concoction of crisp dough and crescenza cheese.  The first time I had it I fell in love. Then I went to Chi Spacca and had their version which is so much crisper and lighter that it has, I think, forever ruined the dish for me anywhere else.

Recco

 

Pastas here are superb. The signature dish, mandilli, is a huge handkerchief of pasta, as ethereal as butterfly wings, in a light basil sauce. Don't miss it.

Basil

The other not to be missed dish is casonzei, tiny packets of sausage topped with crisply fried sage, in a brown butter sauce.

Rav

Porchetta here are salty, fennel-dusted slices of pig. Roasted to a crisp, it arrives in fat, sassy, satisfying slices.  

Photo-5

You could go on to dessert – the cannoli are very good. But personally, I'd just have another order of mandili.  Or perhaps some more peperu, tiny sweet and sour peppers stuffed with cheese. Each one is a single bite that leaves your mouth buzzing with flavor. Ours got gobbled up so fast I never got to take a picture.

One more excuse to go back.

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