Here comes pasta bar Cento to West Adams, just in time for the cozy holiday season and a week of wet weather ahead. The new standalone pasta destination from longtime pop-up chef Avner Levi opens on Wednesday, December 15 at 4921 West Adams Boulevard, with promises of outdoor date night dining and an indoor seating arrangement that offers views into one very open kitchen.
Fans of Cento will know Levi for his long-running tenure turning out pastas from behind the bar at Downtown’s Mignon Wine Bar in the Historic Core. Prior to venturing out on his own, Levi cooked pasta for Bestia, one of the city’s busiest restaurants. Now he’s got a place to call his own, and along one of the city’s newly busy restaurant rows.
Inside, expect a more robust menu that moves beyond simple pastas like Levi’s classic beet spaghetti with brown butter and ricotta. There’s a robust chicken liver crostino with aged balsamic to start alongside a scallop crudo and grilled veal sweetbreads; braised lamb neck and beef osso buco for meatier mains; and a whole world of noodles — from sea urchin spaghetti to broccoli bucatini — to lean on for those that want some comforting carbs. Beer and wine, including lots of old world grape varietals curated by beverage director Santos Uy, are also available. The opening menu is below.
Inside Cento Levi is keeping the same in-the-round appeal as his early pop-up days, though the kitchen is much improved since then. Gone are the two induction burners and three pots, replaced by a glimmering stainless steel system for boiling, plating, saucing, and serving. Most of the seats across the restaurant offer some kind of sightline into Levi’s work station, though the shaded outdoor patio (30 seats are al fresco, 25 inside) with the mature olive tree may be the preferred place to sit under better weather conditions.
Nearby recent additions include everything from Alta Adams and Mian to Highly Likely and Johnny’s, though the area has had its fair share of notable restaurants over the years. The historic West Adams and adjacent Jefferson Park neighborhoods have for decades been home to proudly Black-owned dining institutions like Mel’s Fish Shack, Harold & Belle’s, and Phillips Bar-B-Que, but in the last decade both have seen sweeping changes and redevelopment, fueling gentrification in the region.
Cento opens formally on Wednesday, December 15, with hours from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday (closed Monday-Tuesday).