This week, the LAT's Jonathan Gold files a review of Chad Colby's new meat mecca, chi Spacca. Early on, in tasting the restaurant's 42 oz, $175 bistecca fiorentina, Gold makes note of the simplicity of Colby's menu: "The experience of meat, abetted by small, sharp steak knives that resemble scalpels, does not generally get any purer than this." But Colby has strayed from the Italian roots of his Mozza brotherhood, and is producing all matter of creative and complex charcuterie. It's the unexpected, according to Gold, that makes chi Spacca worth a taste.
Still, Chi Spacca isn't quite what you think it might be in all respects, and it is sometimes the quirks, not classically Italian, that make the restaurant lovable. The beef and marrow pie, a sturdy-crusted thing whose marrowbone juts from its mass like a smokestack from the Titanic, is loosely based on the Australian meat pie, and while the menu touts it as serving two, you will almost certainly take home enough of the leftover pastry and stew to feed you for the rest of the weekend. [LAT]
Meanwhile, Ms. Rodell over at the LA Weekly lights three solid stars at Echo Park's Allumette this week. Young chef Miles Thompson impresses the critic, who praises various items on the "choose your own adventure–style tasting menu." The element of surprise occurs often. A dish of turnips and brown rice gets a paragraph of praise. Later, sturgeon raises eyebrows — in a good way.
There are things on this menu that throw you off guard in the best possible way. Sturgeon comes over a roasted round of delicata squash filled with a creamy puree of Tahitian squash. Around the plate is a smattering of huckleberries but also pickled juniper berries, so with each bite you aren't sure if you'll be getting fruit or juniper's weird, foresty perfume. [LAW]
The Elsewhere: LA Magazine's Digest Blog tries Birrieria Flor del Rio's Goat Birria Tacos, e*starLA hits Melrose's Pingtung, Eating L.A. says Crossroads is for stylish vegans, OCR goes to Ramos House Cafe, and Gastronomy Blog does brunch at Sunny Spot.