Once upon a time, the LWD crew thought we would drive up to the big city of Los Angeles and amble our way right up to a seat at one of the hottest tables in the Southland – Bestia. We’d been warned of the wait, up to a couple hours long for the steadfast, the single-minded. We were rookies then, not savvy enough to have made reservations weeks in advance. Needless to say, we did not make it into Bestia that evening, although our bad planning helped us discover the gem that is Colori Kitchen (and even there, we had to promise to eat speedily as they’d need to turn our table for a 7:00 reservation).
Several months later, we’d try it again, agreeing to a Monday 5:30 slot, those of us able to make it promising to get to work extra early so we could head out an hour before our time. There was a frisson in the air all eight hours we worked, our appetites already in Bestia mode.
Though our original party of six had shrunken to three by the time we made it there, the staff still accommodated us at a smaller table (don’t worry – I called first; I’m not a complete reservation novice, though originally over the phone they’d said our smaller party would have to be cool with sitting at the pizza bar) since the place was still relatively quiet at the time we arrived (though that would change considerably within the hour).
Bestia is that rare place that finesses the balancing act of splendid fare, standout service, and that ineffable cool factor. They pull it off well, which I suppose is what the fuss is all about. For my wallet and me, it’s definitely an occasion/celebration kind of place – certainly not cheap. But you wouldn’t want to go to Bestia and skimp. A cocktail, a couple of courses followed by dessert will keep you on a food and drink high for days.
One of the best things about LWD is the sharing. We strive for diversity among our individual orders so that we can sample several disparate items during an outing. This sometimes leads to plate envy, comparing your final selection to the person’s choice next to you, wishing you could take home her leftovers instead of yours. At Bestia, it was a win-win situation for us all as everything we tried was so soulful and satisfying.
Like my cocktail. As lovely as all the drinks on their menu sounded, I couldn’t pass up the Granita Applebum (does Tribe know about this place?), a scintillating concoction with tequila, vermouth, thyme, and nuggets of apple granita. The drink came to life at the table when our waitress added apple soda, which didn’t compromise the iciness of the granita bits. Amazing. Also yummy were Sandy’s choice, the Bellevue Swizzle, and William’s aptly named Refreshing.
For eats, we went everywhere – from a creamy potato-spiked polenta to a calamari-octopus salad to spaghetti with a seafood-based sauce and a pasta dish with braised oxtail as its star. I have to say, the oxtail thing scared me, not just because I’m rarely a non-poultry meat eater, but really – the oxtail? The only thing I can recall about oxes is that Paul Bunyan had a blue one named Babe. But after Bestia, I now know not to fear the ox.
We finished the evening as scrumptiously as we started with two desserts. The coffee ice cream & doughnuts and a strawberry pastry would have been my favorite part of any other meal. But at Bestia, these fine desserts simply extended a phenomenal experience for us.
Perhaps one day, LWD will find a fairy godfather (or just a sugar daddy) to sponsor our outings and get us into keen spots like Bestia on the regular. But maybe not, as keeping these types of dinners infrequent makes them more special, more memorable. The experience from our Bestia outing will happily remain ever after in our memories. The End.
2121 7th Place in Los Angeles
Veal tartare crostino
Grilled octopus & calamari
Casarecce al pomodoro
Agnolotti alla vaccinara
“Coffee & donuts”
Seascape strawberry crostata