December 21, 2013

Factory Kitchen

In the holiday spirit of giving, I'm sharing with you a new(ish) Italian restaurant in LA, one that is worthy of a visit or two, very soon.

Factory Kitchen, is what it sounds like -- a kitchen in an industrial site.  It is located on Factory Place in the Arts District of Downtown LA and housed in a building that boasts post-industrial, urban-living/ working spaces.  The kitchen may even be run in an assembly-style fashion.  But all of this matters not when you enter the lively space, see the well-present food, and take your first bites.  The only concern you may have is wondering when your delightful satisfaction will wear off.

See below for the must-haves.

Dining area.

Bar seating.

The majority of the food/ drink menus consists of items either from Italy or of some Italian influence.

Beverage menu.

Dinner menu.

Dinner menu.

Prosciutto on lightly fried sage dough and topped with stracciatella -- $18

There is nothing terribly innovative about prosciutto with stracciatella (the cheese used to make burrata), and there is a very low chance that it will be unappetizing.  But the special thing about this dish is the fluffy and warm sage dough that lies hidden beneath the meat and cheese.  Together, it will make you very happy.

Barberosse gratinate -- oven-baked sliced beets and asiago cheese in a casserole form -- $10

Mandilli di seta -- handkerchief pasta with almond basil pesto and fiore sardo (firm Italian cheese) -- $19

The restaurant and its chefs and staff readily share that this handkerchief is a "house speciality."  So what makes it so special?  First, the texture is interesting (in a good way).  Second, the basil is not overpowered by garlic, like many Italian pesto does.  Yet despite the tameness of the pesto, the dish remains flavorful.  It's bit of a mystery how everything comes together so well, but let Factory Kitchen do its thing so that you can do your thing.

Cavoletti -- charred Brussel sprouts, shallots, crushed chili flakes -- $5

San Pietro -- pan-seared John Dory, cauliflower, broccoli, in prosecco sauce -- $28

Apple crostata -- Granny Smith apples on flaky, buttery goodness, 5-spice gelato, balsamic reduction -- $8

The dishes are not authentically Italian.  The portions are not too generous.  The three dollar signs on Yelp and Urbanspoon are accurate (as in do not be alarmed if and when your total bill is high).  Yet what I love most about Factory Kitchen is their ability to take a few ingredients, enhance the flavours and create a dish without over-cooking or over-spicing.  And though that sounds easy enough, there are so many restaurants that are unable to do so.  The quality of food and service here is on par with other neighboring Italian eateries.  Overall, it is a splendid place to share great laughs and memories with old friends or enjoy a pleasant meal with a date.

Even though it's only about two months old, Factory Kitchen is already proving to be a worthy LA establishment, so check it out before it becomes near impossible to make easy reservations.

Recommended dishes: Prosciutto, pesto handkerchief pasta.

The Factory Kitchen on Urbanspoon

dine-date: Thursday, 12/19/13; 19:30
cuisine: Italian
location: DTLA
hours: Lunch & Dinner
websites: { yelp | facebook | twitter | instagram }
parking: Valet ($5) or street (free)
attire: Casual
notes: Make reservations.  Space is somewhat limited.
other reviews: { JGold | LA Weekly | LA Downtown }

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