Eating with our Hands; Pizza & tonnato(tuna)

“Why do you think I’m getting fat, I eat pizza every day for the last 16 months trying to perfect the dough.” ~Perfectionist & Chef Ori Menashe, Los Angeles in March, 2012

For the last 9 months, I’ve been fundraising with, photographing for, and watching the development of a project of one of Los Angeles’s finest chefs, Ori Menashe, who learned under world class chef Gino Angelini(who teaches many 2 and 3 star Michelin chefs in Italy) and is beloved in the restaurant community (Angelini Osteria).  Ori is just about to open his own restaurant in the growing metropolitan Downtown Los Angeles! It’s called Bestia, meaning BEAST in Italian – not a mile from Staples Center.  Serving food that could be eaten Monday playing hooky from school(hey, I ate gooooood in college) or a for a Saturday night on the town.  Well drinks, fantastic cocktails, well rounded out wine list.  But the real highlight is the unbelievable pizza dough, the complex salumi, and pasta.  At the core, it’s rustic Italian food that is approachable yet aggressive, and the space invites conversation (more on the space later as I edit the video).  Italian food is very simple – simple ingredients, done right.  I’m going to post an in depth review once the kitchen goes full steam.  For now, I will say this wednesday was the best wednesday for food – simple food, done right.

Today I wanted to surprise him with some fresh Yellowfin Tuna (whole) and Bluefin tuna loin, freshly caught, properly Ike Jime brain-spiked, Gillraker-bled to have the cleanest flavored, best yellowfin tuna loin ever.  The restaurant opens October 16 for “Test Kitchen”, a 3 week run that will feature chefs from across the nation (possibly Mario Batali?) to do a night each featuring their menu, cycling them through the restaurant space.  The official opening is mid/late November.  With simple preparations, the most important thing is – QUALITY ingredients – oh, and don’t F- it up😉

We started with a cured tuna heart Spaghetti – simple with garlic, tuna heart, lemon zest.  Whoever cures their own tuna hearts is a bad mother fucker.

Tuna heart pasta – fishy flavor, perfect al dente, well balanced with lemon zest

eating in the kitchen is my favorite

From pasta class, we moved on to Yellowfin Tuna loin and belly dissection

clean meat, perfectly bled

pizza time, simple san marzano tomato sauce, the dough is truly spectacular prepared in the Acunto pizza oven – the best from Italy, and the pizza is the best I ever had – been to tony’s in the bay, grimaldis in NY, Posto, Dominos… you name it, I eaten it.

I love it when chefs are so fucking happy eating their food

simple Margherita to start as amuse bouche

a few more for the appetizers

L(bluefin tuna) R two columns (yellowfin tuna loin).  the YFT Loin was the best I ever had.  So clean.  

house cured smoked guanchiale pizza…while i’m taking pictures he says WHY YOU’RE NOT EATING?  I take on the challenge and grab a whole piece, shove it in my mouth in one bite and ask for more.  It’s respect.  Thank you chef.  He says, NOW WE’RE TALKIN’.

still building

We just needed wine and it could have been the last supper!!!!!

We eat with our hands like true lovers of food (and Barbarians do).  To the left we debate whether we like the YFT Loin, the YFT Belly (top), or the Bluefin Tuna Loin, we discuss the merits of the pickled Calabrian chiles, or the Ponzu and Wasabi, or lemon & sea salt.  Then we think, damn, it all tastes damnnn good.  The best ingredients when you do it yourself!!!!!!!!!!!!