Bucato, Evan Funke's new Culver City Italian restaurant, is the subject of this week's restaurant review. The full review is over in the food department -- we hope you'll consider reading the whole thing. Or you can peruse the condensed version, below.
Chef(s): Funke is best known for his work at Rustic Canyon, where he served as chef for four years between 2008 and 2012. His love of pasta and Italian food was cemented in 2007 when he spent three months in Bologna learning under master pasta-maker Alessandra Spisni. For Bucato, he's enlisted the help of Kosaku Kawamura, a Japanese chef he met in Italy, who serves as Bucato's chief pasta-maker. Bread and desserts are by Zairah Molina, who previously worked under Sherry Yard at Spago.
Food: A wide-ranging collection of Italian small plates, with a focus on pastas and vegetables. At its best, this food is absolutely stunning -- particularly the pastas.
Space: The outdoor front patio is quite lovely in its simplicity, but the indoor space is kind of odd. From the review: "the inside space ... feels less like a welcoming restaurant and more like a brightly lit, high-design hallway between galleries at some big-city museum. Designed by Undisclosable Inc., the angular structure above the open kitchen and the high ceilings work well to deflect noise, but the layout is awkward, never allowing the interior to feel bustling or vibrant."
Controversies: Bucato has a number of features, in its policies and layout, that have caused some consternation, especially in the blogging world. In brief: Call phones and photography are not allowed; reservations can only be made on the day you wish to dine, not ahead of time; portions are small and sometimes costly given their size; the bathroom situation is odd and a little inconvenient. These are tiny things individually. But they do add up.
Takeaway: 3 stars (very good). On the right night, with the right food, in the right seat, Bucato can deliver one of the city's most rewarding dining experiences.
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