1) Beverly Hills: SIV offers a mostly enthusiastic two star review to Steve Samson and Zach Pollack's "vibrant" Sotto. Overall she enjoys the Southern Italian menu, but pastas fall short:
With its southern Italian menu, Neapolitan pizza and savvy Italian wine list, Sotto stakes out a claim as a new kind of Italian restaurant in Los Angeles. The kitchen could be more consistent, and the pasta and dessert sections need a little work, but all and all, Sotto could be the restaurant that breaks the L.A. northern Italian mold...Sher concludes that "Sotto feel more like Italy than, well, Pico Boulevard...the menu offers an authentic handmade take on a side of Italian cuisine that gets short shrift in L.A." [LAT]
...The surprise is how gutsy Sotto's menu is, filled with regional Italian dishes, mostly from southern Italy, few of them seen in these parts much. Dishes like pig coratella, a rustic dish of pork innards sweetened with oven-dried tomatoes and served with grilled bread. Each bite carries something different. Or lamb belly agrodolce, braised in a sweet-tart sauce dosed with vinegar...
...Funny enough, pasta doesn't seem to be the restaurant's strong suit...Trouble is they're clumsy and thick, sometimes gummy or too chewy and not all that appealing, despite the unusually rustic sauces. They're not in sync with the rest of the menu.
2) Mid-City: Last week Sher handed out one and a half stars to Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo's (Animal) sophomore effort, Son of a Gun, and this week The Goldster shares his thoughts. Initially he likens the restaurant to Koi, describing the SoaG's small plates as "a series of precise, miniaturized tastes — not so precise that you couldn't get a couple of bites out of the lobster rolls, which are about the size of inari sushi, but wee enough that meals tended to be a series of discrete sensations rather than the full-on gastro-assault of an Animal loco moco." But then the tide changes and JG shifts his tune: "But either the restaurant has changed or I have, because just a couple of months later, even with most of the menu the same, Son of a Gun seems to have become a kick-ass Florida fish house, a Hollywood version of the kind of place worth a three-Key drive for dinner." Highlights include the fried chicken sandwich, smoked fish spread, and shrimp sandwiches on white bread. [LAW]