Matthew Kenney’s holds a solid plant-based footprint on the Westside. His Venice restaurants include the upscale Plant Food + Wine, more casual Double Zero pizza, and easy-going New Deli. The well-known chef has now moved slightly east into downtown Culver City this month, opening a plant-only pasta bar on November 12 called Sestina.
In vegan-friendly LA, plant-based pasta bars are a bit of a rare sight, and Sestina makes pasta accessible for those who omit animal products from their diets. Its closest competitor is West Hollywood’s two-year-old Pura Vita. Also Tal Ronnen’s Crossroads does some very good pasta. But Kenney’s Culver City restaurant has a commitment to plant-based pasta that the city hasn’t seen yet.
The menu features dishes like stuffed shells with vegan ricotta and spinach, a pumpkin ravioli alfredo, or a creamy canestri pasta with vodka sauce. Several pizzas are on the menu, but this is mostly a pasta spot. The wine list specialists in bottles from California and Italy, though there’s a full bar as well. Bottled cocktails and prepare-at-home food kits are also available to-go.
Sestina resides in the former Wildcraft space, with a glass-enclosed kitchen and full wood-burning oven. Diners will appreciate the fully open kitchen design once indoor dining is allowed to return in LA County. Sestina is Kenney’s fourth restaurant opening during the coronavirus pandemic. His team opened Sestina New York and San Francisco in August, and Sutra next to NY’s Madison Square Park. Hours are 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily.