I only have two pictures to document the experience. The ambiance and aesthetic of the place was too overwhelming for me to start up the old instagram. The food was equally as overwhelming. I managed to snap a shot of my pasta, one of the main draws of the restaurant. I was recommended the Cavatelli alla Norcina, which consists of ricotta dumplings, housemade pork sausage, black truffles, and grana padano. It was incredible. The pasta was perfectly cooked, the shaved black truffles in the cheesy and creamy grana padano sauce worked wonderfully, and the pork sausage was unreal. From the first bite I knew this place was special.
I also tried an appetizer with crispy lamb neck, some type of bean, and Italian salsa verde. Lamb neck seems to be all the rage these days. It’s a tough and inexpensive cut of meat that restaurants around town have been able to slow cook into fancy dishes. Bestia’s version is hands down the best I’ve had. I’m a sucker for a parsley/lemon/garlic sauce, so adding crispy lamb neck to that can only make things better. For dessert we got the restaurant’s nod to Thomas Keller, the coffee and donuts, which consisted of chestnut donuts, whipped cream, and coffee gelato. Let’s be honest. I’m not going to turn down fried dough with sugar on it, but my enjoyment definitely has various degrees. These donuts, with a bite of the gelato, are near the top of that list. To round off my first Bestia experience, I tried one of the Julian Cox cocktails. It was something like a campariless negroni. Strange, but enjoyable.
Thus ends round one.
Round two was a few weeks later and once again, it did not disappoint. The dining room will always look stunning to me, with the wood, metalwork, and exposed brick. This time, I needed more than just sharing an appetizer and a pasta. We started with a small salumi plate, zesty chicken wings, and the beef heart tartare. All of the meats at Bestia are house-cured and are very unique. I had cocoa powder salami. And it was good. Real good. The chicken wings had a very intense orange taste, with a spicy szechwan kick. I’m no chicken wing expert (this might have even been the first I’ve ever really had), but I know flavor, and these had a lot of it. The chicken wings were probably my least favorite of the night, which isn’t saying much, because EVERYTHING else was overly good. I was a bit worried when the beef heart tartare showed up at my table. It’s one thing to sound adventurous and order it, but once it’s directly in front of you, you really come to terms with the fact that there’s ground up heart in front of you on a piece of bread. One bite though, and all you can think of is the shallots, mint, pine nuts, and champagne vinegar. God that mint was great.
Not a bad start, right? Well, it gets better. Next we went to pizza and pasta. Something to note: the dough at Bestia is heavenly. The pizza dough is unlike any other I’ve ever had. It’s thin, crispy, and chewy all at once. Each pasta seems to have its own texture that works with the respective dish, and a lot of the types are infused with different flavors, like stinging nettles, squid ink, or chestnuts. We ordered the Alla’nduja pizza, which had housemade spicy ‘nduja (spreadable salami), tomatoes, mozzarella, and wild arugula. I’ve seen ‘nduja on a few different menus, and the fact that it’s spreadable salami has intrigued me. Believe it or not, Bestia makes a damn good spreadable salami. As for a pasta, it was hard not to order the Cavatelli again, but I needed to try something new. I ordered the Pici alla Vaccinara, an oxtail and chestnut ragu with formaggio misto stagionato (no idea what that means..someone google it). While I definitely preferred the Cavatelli, the Pici alla Vaccinara wasn’t far behind. The pasta was thick and soft, and the oxtail (my first time!) was as good as other people have told me it is. I don’t think you can order a ‘wrong’ dish at Bestia. Just read through the menu and pick a few things that sound good to you.
Now for dessert. Wonderful dessert. Along with the donuts, we got the honey rosemary Pine Nut Tart with oro blanco sorbet and oro blanco segments. The donuts were once again outstanding, but the Pine Nut Tart was one of my favorite desserts. Ever. The richness and crunchiness of the pine nuts, the sweetness and stickiness of the honey, and the hint of rosemary led to a perfect marriage of flavor and texture that can only be experienced to be understood. I know the rosemary/pine nut combination is a popular one in Italian desserts, but none have pulled it off as good as Bestia. The addition of the oro blanco, a variety fo grapefruit, cut the sweetness, and added a cold, sour component.
Two other positives were the cocktail I ordered (bartender’s choice with chartreuse, which ended up being a Tipperary), and the coffee, which was prepared via chemex.
I know it’s all the rage to love Bestia (until we all make enough money to go to Trois Mec). It’s impossible to get a reservation less than two weeks in advance (the small pizza bar is first come first served if you’re desperate to go..and you should be). The hype, however, is well worth it. So I guess the last thing to say is…MAKE RESERVATIONS.
Wanna go? If so, click here: Bestia