Jonathan Gold finally takes a stab at reviewing Scopa, the Venice restaurant that's been around for just over a year next to Sunny Spot on Washington Blvd. The Antonia Lofasa-helmed kitchen comes alongside a front of house and bar program managed by Steve Livigni and Pablo Moix. Overall, Gold likes the bar program alongside Lofasa's fare:
In truth, the strong flavors of Lofaso's brand of Italian American cooking, underlaid with rowdy herbs and jolts of acidity, do not especially flatter wine. You would almost rather have an IPA or a tart boulevardier with her bowl of mussels fra diavolo, in its ultra-reduced tomato-chile sauce, than a glass of white. So order a bourbon and contemplate the calamari, which is puffy, crunchy and jet-black in its squid-ink-dyed batter; or the fractal geometry of the romanesco cauliflower with hazelnuts and shreds of mint; or the rather overcooked seared scallops with oregano and brown butter. Consider a meatball hero. Nibble at the finely shredded chopped salad, zapped with oregano and plumped out with a deli case full of Italian meats. The meat-sauce-stuffed fried arancini, one to an order, are the size of billiard balls. [LAT]
Besha Rodell takes on Little Jewel in Chinatown, the new(ish) New Orleans-style deli from Marcus Christiana-Beniger. Awarding two stars for a spot-on sandwich game, plus other Big Easy specialties, Little Jewel truly is that gem for homesick transplants.
The same cannot be said for the cochon de lait po' boy, a mess of pulled pork so juicy, so lightly spicy and set off by its dressing, I would have to call it the best Southern-style barbecue sandwich in Los Angeles. That it is not a style many of us might recognize is beside the point. It kicks ass.
I struggled to tear myself away from the po' boy offerings at Little Jewel, but it was worth venturing to the other sandwiches, particularly the muffuletta, which is made on the proper, huge round of Italian sesame-seeded bread and layered with olive relish that Christiana-Beniger makes in-house. [LAW]
The Elsewhere: FoodGPS digs the amazing lunch special at Sushi Sushi in Beverly Hills, Caroline on Crack examines the Hollywood bar programs at Power House, Lost Property, and Sassafras, Gourmet Pigs heads to ChocoChicken, Refined Palate returns (again) to Vin Bar in Santa Monica, and The Offalo takes a tour of Grand Central Market.