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Besha Rodell Calls Felix “The Best Goddamned Version” of an LA Pasta Place

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The Venice restaurant earns a rare four stars

Wonho Frank Lee

This week, Besha Rodell reviews Felix Trattoria, chef Evan Funke’s return to LA after he left Bucato back in 2015. Of course the heart and soul of the restaurant is pasta, with a glass-encased noodle-making room that sports the “oft-used social media hashtag #fuckyourpastamachine.”

Funke is turning out wonders from that room, with a menu of pastas broken down by region:

It would take weeks to eat through all these pastas, from saffron-tinged malloreddus (tiny Sardinian gnocchi) and multiple variations of spaghetti to hearty ragus and lovely little orecchiette with sausage and more of that incredible broccoli. It hasn't appeared on the menu yet, but some nights carbonara is available, and it has the potential to usurp the pappardelle as king of this restaurant. The sauce is like the very soul of egg yolk, with all of its fat and glossy slick (and none of its slime), punctuated by crispy frizzles of pancetta. Funke serves it with a wide variation on rigatoni, and the egg sauce clings to the ridges of the al dente pasta like a wondrous yellow gravy. [LAW]

Unfortunately, even though “many dishes at Felix will be the best goddamned version of that thing you've ever had,” the pizza doesn’t quite cut the mustard:

Is it at all possible Funke has enough passion in his heart to care as deeply about pizza as he does pasta? I doubt it. And it shows; the perfectionism with which he approaches everything else on the menu doesn't shine through in the Neapolitan-style pizza, which can be floppy bordering on soupy in the middle. It's not bad pizza — the crust is charred, the dough has good flavor. It's just not the best goddamned pizza you've ever eaten, and when put beside the focaccia and the pasta and the broccoli and the panzanella, it seems weak by comparison. [LAW]

Ultimately, the pizza slight is more a reflection of the rest of the impeccable food from Funke’s kitchen. B. Rod concludes:

The service is lovely, the cocktails are fantastic, the wine list is deep and smart. The food is goddamned delicious. To more satisfyingly answer that months-old question about the significance of Felix Trattoria: If this kind of pleasure is what all that romantic ambition gets you, then I'm happy to concede its deep importance. [LAW]

Felix earns a glowing four stars.