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100 Favorite Dishes

75: Porcetto at Sotto

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Tue, Jul 24, 2012 at 2:36 PM

click to enlarge porcetto at Sotto - A. SCATTERGOOD
  • A. Scattergood
  • porcetto at Sotto
Leading up to this year's Best of L.A. issue (due out Oct. 4), we'll be counting down, in no particular order, 100 of our favorite dishes.

75: Porcetto at Sotto.

Porchetta is one of those dishes that, once you've tried it, tends to feature prominently in recurrent dreams. The same genre of dream as those in which Dario Cecchini intones Dante in Italian and everybody's pasta turns out like Gino Angelini's and world peace is somehow achieved through fennel pollen. Porchetta, or porcetto as they call it at Sotto, is magic in the form of slow-roasted pork. Seasoned with salted herbs. Blasted in a 525-degree oven (as high as Sotto's goes) until the skin puffs. Then alchemized via four hours at 300 until it eventually comes to rest, between some truly excellent house-made bread, on your table.

Steve Samson and Zack Pollack only serve their porcetto (singular, although you could happily order a dozen of them and change the vowel) at lunchtime, which is a good enough reason to haunt that stretch of Pico-Robertson. Theirs is kind of like the Platonic ideal of a sandwich, a perfect rendering of both meat and bread, presented with very little to distract you from the confluence of the two. There is a bit of arugula -- in consideration of us here, as according to the chefs there would be no greens added to the dish were we in Italy -- and a deft, minimalist side of pickled fennel, cauliflower and carrots. But those are just margin notes, a bit of color and acid to further demonstrate the genius of the dish itself.

Apparently Italy's Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies has designated this dish as a prodotto agroalimentare tradizionale (P.A.T.), or a regional food with protected status, which makes it sound more like a rare bird in a Kafka short story than a cave-aged French cheese or a place-specific bottle of wine, but you get the idea. After a few lunches at Sotto -- or at Mozza2Go, which also has a glorious porchetta sandwich -- you'd probably advocate for a whole division of the FDA just for making the stuff.


Check out the rest of our 100 of our favorite dishes. Suggestion? Write us a comment.

100: Lukshon's Dan Dan Noodles

99: Cemita de Milanesa at Cemitas Poblanos Elviritas #1

98: Chichen Itza's Cochinita Pibil

97: Tsukemen at Tsujita L.A.

96: La Cevicheria's Bloody Clam Ceviche

95: Duck Shawarma at Momed

94: Peruvian Chicken at Pollo a la Brasa

93: Squash Blossom Quesadilla at Antojitos Carmen

92: Thai Boat Noodles at Pa-Ord

91: Baco Mercat's Bazole

90: Furikake Kettle Corn at A-Frame

89: Live Santa Barbara Spot Prawns at Providence

88: Fried Pig Tails at Night + Market

87: Egg Salad Sandwich at Euro Pane

86: Galbi Jjim at Soban

85: Truffle Honey-Laced Fried Chicken at Manhattan Beach Post

84: Mool Naeng Myun at Yu Chic Naeng Myun

83: Chicken Vampiro at Mexicali Taco & Co

82: Sooo Cali Dog at Dog Haus

81: White Anchovy, Tomato and Fresno Chile Pizza at Pizzeria Mozza

80: Shu Mai at Elite Restaurant

79: Tandoori Chicken at Al-Watan

78: Chocolate Bread and Butter Pudding at The Hungry Cat

77: Agedashi Tofu at Izakaya Bincho

76: Pork Chop at Salt's Cure


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