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Sotto: 99 Essential Restaurants 2011

ANNE FISHBEIN

First of all, Sotto is not really a pizzeria. I thought I'd get that out of the way. Because while there is an oven — a 15,000-pound behemoth ballasted with imported Vesuvian soil — and chefs Steve Samson and Zack Pollack come from Ortica, the South Coast Plaza restaurant that redefined Orange County pizza, and char-freckled pies do issue from its wood-burning depths, pizza isn't really the point of the place, even if soft-centered Neapolitan pies are your thing.

Sotto is a different kind of Italian restaurant: a place where the hot, fresh bread can come with puréed lardo instead of olive oil, if you like it that way; where a special of pan frattau, a kind of Sardinian chilaquiles made with flatbread instead of stale tortillas, is fried with a butcher's bouquet of lamb's innards; and the bruschetta may be smeared not with olive paste but with ciccoli, a paste of lard puréed with pigskin. Samson and Pollack are abbatoir jocks.

The menu at least nominally points to Southern Italy instead of the requisite Tuscan dishes. Witness the little dough puffs called pittule — appetizer doughnuts! — with fresh ricotta and a drizzle of reduced sweet wine. Even the pastas tend to be southern things we haven't seen locally, like the twisted noodles with a thick paste of simmered lamb with raw egg yolk and sheep cheese, which nods to the Middle East. For dessert? Take the cannoli. Of course. 9575 W. Pico Blvd. (310) 277-0210, sottorestaurant.com. Lunch, Tues.-Fri., noon-2:30 p.m.; dinner, Tues.-Sun., 5:30-10 p.m. Full bar. Valet parking. All major CC. Italian.

99 Essential L.A. Restaurants 2011:

Jonathan Gold's Introduction
Anne Fishbein's Photos
The Google Map

The List:

A-Frame
Akasha
Alcazar
Angeli Caffe
Angelini Osteria
Animal
Antojitos Carmen
Attari
Babita
Bludso's
Border Grill
Bottega Louie
Bulgarini Gelato
Cacao
Campanile
Casa Bianca
Chang's Garden
Chego
Chichén Itzá
Chung King
Church & State
Ciro's
Comme Ça
Cut
Dae Bok
Din Tai Fung
Drago Centro
El Huarache Azteca
El Parian
Elvirita's
Euro Pane Bakery
Eva
Fab Hot Dogs
Father's Office
Fig
Gjelina
Golden Deli
Golden State
Good Girl Dinette
The Gorbals
Guelaguetza
Guisados
Huckleberry
Hungry Cat
Ink.
Jar
Jitlada
Kiriko
Kobawoo
La Casita Mexicana
Langer's
Larkin's
Lazy Ox Canteen
Le Comptoir
Little Dom's
Lou
Lucques
LudoBites
Lukshon
Mantee
Marouch
Mayura
Meals by Genet
Mélisse
Mezze
Mo-Chica
Mother Dough
Mozza
Musso & Frank Grill
Nem Nuong Khanh Hoa
Newport Tan Cang Seafood Restaurant
The Nickel
Night + Market
Oinkster
101 Noodle Express
Palate Food + Wine
Park's Barbecue
Picca
Playa
Pollos a la Brasa
Providence
Ray's
Red Medicine
Rivera
Rustic Canyon
Salt's Cure
Sapp Coffee Shop
Sea Harbour
Son of a Gun
Sotto
Spago
Spice Table
Street
Tacos Baja Ensenada
Tasting Kitchen
Terroni
Tsujita L.A.
Vincenti
Waterloo & City

 

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Sotto

9575 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90035

310-277-0210

www.sottorestaurant.com


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