Restaurants & Bars Los Angeles Area

Bestia - review

The Oracle | | Mar 21, 2013 03:01 PM

Short version: underwhelmed, but not horribly so. I'm not dying to return, but I'm glad I gave it a try.

Long version: Arrived at 7:45 for my Wednesday night reservation. Was warmly greeted by the hostess and promptly seated.

Our waitress approached the table shortly after and started explaining the menu. House filtered still or sparkling was $1/pp with the proceeds going to a charity I couldn't hear. Why, you ask? The noise level of the packed house was DEAFENING.

What she then proceeded to explain, which I did hear, but wish I didn't, was that the order must be placed in full - with no exceptions. I thought this was an interesting rule.

Maybe I'm getting old :-) but the other thing I noted were the small-ish chairs. I didn't find them overly uncomfortable, but by the end of the evening, my dining companion couldn't WAIT to leave because his rear hurt from the hard chairs.

Wine List - I wanted a bold red by the glass. I was surprised to learn there were only 4 reds by the glass and was informed that only one had any body to it. (Sorry, can't remember what it was).

On to the food:
We ordered 5 starter plates to share and the waitress informed us it wouldn't be enough food, so we added a 6th. Truth is, we would have been more than fine with the 5 - and barely touched the last dish that came out.

OLIVES - not on the menu, pitted, and a nice variety. They were a lovely accompaniment to the meal and had a delicious spiced oil.

OCTOPUS - very good. Nicely sized pieces and plenty to share. Served on a bed of greens.

CHICKEN GIZZARDS - this was my favorite dish, if only because it was gizzards. It was my first time seeing gizzards on a menu and I enjoyed every bite. My dining companion did not share the gizzard love, which just meant more for me. It was accompanied by red beets and endive, which I thought were a perfect complement.

SCALLOP CRUDO - this had interesting texture but was over-seasoned for my taste and neither of us cared for the dish.

BONE MARROW - I was highly anticipating this dish, but it was my least favorite of the bunch. It came out very hot, which was nice, but other than the presentation (a bone split in two), it fell flat. The bone was very shallow and there wasn't much marrow (and I had the bigger of the two pieces). However, the accompanying spaetzle-like pasta was delicious.

MUSSELS - this was the last dish to arrive and the one we barely touched. The broth was tasty, and mussels were well-cooked, but the standout of the dish were the 3 pieces of toasted bread that came with it - amazing bread!

We wanted to try dessert - but, with very long lulls between the time we asked for menus, were given menus, to the time to place the order, we were over it and just wanted the check (which also took a long time).

Dinner was about 2.5 hours. Pacing of the courses seemed off. The first 4 came out in good timing - and then there was a long lull. So much so, we inquired if they had forgotten the other dishes. We weren't in a rush, so it wasn't a big deal, but it would have been nice to have received food in a more orderly manner - especially with their 'order all at once' rule.

All in all - it was an "ok"' meal. I think my high expectations messed with my experience, because I had high hopes I'd love it (as much as recent dinners at Sotto and Craft). But, it was just ok, in my book - even with their inventive and creative menu. Nothing horribly wrong, but nothing so amazing I'd be clamoring to return. Add our MIA waitress and high noise level... and that's the end of that story. I will note that the bussing staff was on the top of their game. Highly efficient at clearing plates and replacing utensils and plates. I also appreciated them asking if we were done with a dish before clearing the plate.

The bill: $145 pre-tip: 6 'small' plates, 2 beers ($8/each), 3 glasses of wine ($39/total).

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