But Funke's cacio e pepe breaks almost every rule. Instead of using die-cut dried pasta, he makes the dish with spaghetti alla chitarra, fresh pasta cut into strands by pressing it through a device that looks a little like an autoharp. He cooks the pasta to a curly softness. The sauce is enriched with butter. It is served in a tiny portion, barely filling the center of an appetizer bowl rather than spilling out in Roman extravagance. Cracked pepper coats the spaghetti, but in this context the scent is more perfumed than punishing; almost exotic. As cacio e pepe, Funke's version fails. But as dinner, it is rather glorious.
Funke's mission, broadly defined, is to combine strong pungencies and seasonal vegetables with the suppleness of fresh, well-cooked pasta — mixed by hand, rolled out by hand and shaped by hand in the pasta kitchen upstairs.Given Funke's stint with his Porchetta Truck, Gold is surprised that meat dishes generally fall short. He writes, "... meats seem almost an afterthought here: an enormous rib-eye steak curiously bland (and the shaved truffles with its accompanying roast potatoes utterly without flavor), and porcini-dusted sweetbreads a bit mushy. The thinly sliced porchetta is a little bouncier than it should be ..." [LAT]
The Elsewhere: Darin Dines at Fishing with Dynamite, Dig Lounge considers Top Round Roast Beef, Los Feliz Ledger visits Sonny's Hideaway, e*star LA tries a Kitchensurfing dinner, Midtown Lunch talks about Cho Man Won, kevinEats at RivaBella, and Thirsty in LA drinks at Drago Centro.