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Well-Executed Fare, Weak Desserts at The Factory Kitchen

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Photo by <a href="http://www.elizabethdanielsphotography.com">Elizabeth Daniels</a>
Photo by Elizabeth Daniels
Matthew Kang is the Lead Editor of Eater LA. He has covered dining, restaurants, food culture, and nightlife in Los Angeles since 2008. He's the host of K-Town, a YouTube series covering Korean food in America, and has been featured in Netflix's Street Food show.

The Factory Kitchen opened in late October to an Arts District that always feels like it has too many places, only to be bombarded by countless diners. Taking over an industrial space much like Bestia's, but with a much different overall vibe, chef Angelo Auriana (Valentino) partnered with Matteo Ferdinandi to create a casual trattoria menu in a more civilized setting. In the ensuing months, the reaction to the pasta-centric eatery has been mostly positive, with only a smattering of negative takes. Here now, a compilation of the best and worst of The Factory Kitchen in Downtown by bloggers, Yelpers, critics, and more.

The Word from Jonathan Gold: "There are casonzei, the specialty of Auriana's hometown of Bergamo, thin pasta stuffed with pork, cured pork and veal, served simply with browned butter and sage; and quadretti, tiny ravioli filled with smoked ricotta and tossed with braised octopus. The menu changes daily, but you will usually find a porchetta, one of the best versions in town, of crunchy rolled pork belly flavored sharply with fennel pollen...But the Factory Kitchen is a compelling new hybrid — an informal trattoria with rather formal northern Italian cooking, like those restaurants you sometimes find hidden in the warehouse districts of European cities that just happen to have a Michelin star. The dishes are composed; careful. This is not country food." [LA Times]

The Silky Pasta News: "Auriana focuses on deceptively simple sauces and preparations that allow the noodles to shine. Their quality is most apparent in a dish of mandilli di seta, thin sheets of pasta that arrive piled in diminutive heaps, like the cast-off silky underthings you might find on a woman's bedroom floor." [LA Weekly]

The Abrasive Service News: "From the food and service, The Factory Kitchen exceeded our expectations in every way. Service was extremely attentive and professional -- but not friendly. One of my dining companions labeled him as "abrasive." Our server told us that the chef wanted us to order everything all at once which was a turn off to us. We felt that if we were still hungry, we couldn't order anything else. [Yelp]

The Cocktail News: "I ordered the Soon To Be Divorced (tequila, campari, lime, agave, thyme - $10). I've never had tequila and campari together, but this was very drinkable with the lovely thyme aroma. Other than these seasonal drinks, Karl has a short list of classics as well." [Gourmet Pigs]

The Factory Kitchen versus Bestia News: "Because the comparisons to Bestia will be inevitable given the cuisine and the location, I'll go ahead and mention it. I like them both. The style is actually different with the pastas here having more of a northern Italian bent. The chef is from Bergamo (near Milan). Funny since whiner was asking for something Northern Italian on another thread. The pastas here seem lighter. Bestia isn't really region specific but the pastas, calamari, and octopus preps are so delicious." [Chowhound]

The Juicy Rabbit (And Ho-Hum Dessert) News: "Our second secondi was the coniglio ($28), oven-roasted rabbit with olives, marjoram, and mashed potatoes. The lil' rabbit was cooked to perfection, juicy and tender, while the seasoning hit the mark...The best of the ho-hum bunch was the Granny Smith apple crostata ($8) with five spice gelato and balsamic reduction. In addition to chopped apples, the crostata contained apple sauce too, which was a strange touch. The gelato's five spice flavor was totally muted." [GastronomyBlog]

The Small (Read: Hipster) Portions News: "only thing to complain is that the portion is small for the price. I would imaging to revive a pretty decent size for $20 pasta $25 porchetta but it was like a small plate appetizer size... :( well, that's the price we pay for these hipster like restaurant nowadays, I guess...." [Yelp]

The Life-Changing Cannoli News: "If you want to experience maternal love in a single bite, order the cannoli ($8), which arrive anointed with a dot of orange marmalade and a scattering of pistachios. According to Auriana, he begged the recipe off a friend's mother during a trip through Italy." [Tasting Table]

The Decadent Duck Egg News: "Another great appetizer is the Pancotto—duck egg, red potato vellutata, sautéed greens, semolina bread crostone, and speck. This one is a house specialty and it's decadent and so savory. Think of this as a kind of bread-thickened soup with the broth soaked into the bread." [LA Dine-n-Club]
·All Good News/Bad News Coverage [~ELA~]

The Factory Kitchen