As L.A.'s seafood moment begins to mellow out, here's hoping that pasta is the next big trend. On the heels of Bucato, Factory Kitchen is now rolling out homemade pastas and trattoria-style Italian food in downtown's Arts District. Restaurateur Matteo Ferdinandi (Celestino Drago) has partnered with chef Angelo Auriana (Valentino) on a simple yet casually hip Italian concept that opened to the public on Oct. 31.
There are only a few pastas to choose from, but they're noteworthy. For the traditionalist, there's paccheri, a ragu-style dish made with flat, wide, chewy tube pastas and subtly spicy and salty pork sausage. Auriana's pasta specialty is the mandilli di seta, a delicate, thin handkerchief pasta made with a creamy almond basil pesto.
Another dish to try is the focacciana calda di recco al formaggio, an oven-baked crescenza crisp, like a flatbread-pizza hybrid, which can be served simply with arugula and olive oil, or with anchovies or mushrooms. The portions aren't large, and prices for pasta hover around $18-$19 each, so order strategically.
Pastry chef Emily Acevedo's short dessert menu features Italian-inspired sweets such as panna cotta with poached pears and honeyed almonds, and a torta caprese, a flourless chocolate hazelnut cake with raspberry sauce and vanilla gelato.
Sommelier Francine Diamond-Ferdinandi has curated a list of mostly Italian wines, and Karl Steuck is behind the well-edited list of cocktails, including the Italian Stallion, with Fernet Branca, lemon and ginger, and the Little Italy with Templeton rye, Cynar and Antica.
Factory Kitchen is showing its Arts District neighbors some love, bringing in bottled beers from nearby Angel City Brewery and bread from Bread Lounge.
The space is open and industrial, but don't let the unfinished ceilings and bare walls fool you. The concrete pillars and open kitchen still lend an element of design to an otherwise basic interior, and leather chairs and wooden tables liven up the space. The casual, minimalistic decor can be misleading -- the food is sophisticated and the service is exceptional, as servers in plaid button-up shirts and jeans are more than attentive.
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For now, Factory Kitchen is open only for dinner, but lunch and eventually brunch service will follow in the near future.
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