Restaurant: Officine Brera [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]
Location: 1331 E 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90021. (213) 553-8006
Date: September 18, 2021
Rating: Still really good
At the time of this dinner I’m not sure I had been out on a “double date” (dinner with another couple) since before the pandemic. But here we are at downtown’s Officine Brera, a modern “rustic” Italian by the team that brought us Factory Kitchen, including master chef Angelo Auriana. So let’s see how it’s held up through the pandemic. At some point they changed the name to just Brera too. I have no idea why.
The area offers a mess of old brick 40s warehouses and factories which are being lovingly converted, allowing large spaces at reasonable rents (for now).
And inside the gigantic warehouse/factory space has been reconfigured with highly attractive duct work. Who would have thought that grungy 70 year-old factory windows could look so good?
Tonight we actually ate outside, which was perfect given the times.
The current menu. At least it’s not a QR code!
From my cellar: 2018 Azienda Agricola Valentini Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo. VM 92. Bright pink. Minerals, fava beans, pomegranate and violet on the bright nose. Then very harmonious in its acid-fruit-tannin profile, with lively balanced acidity nicely extending the flavors similar to the aromas on the long back end. Strikes me as a rather refined, sneakily concentrated Cerasuolo. (Drink between 2019-2025)
BURRATA beets, heirloom baby carrots, roasted summer squash, pea shoots.
HEIRLOOM TOMATO red plum, cucumber, watercress, almonds, tomato coulis.
ZUCCHINI BLOSSOMS tempura batter, cheese filled, spicy mayo.
SOFTSHELL CRAB. pan seared softshell blue crab, saffron-prosecco sauce, cauliflower.
CARPACCIO prime beef sirloin, bone marrow dressing, reggiano crema, celery.
From my cellar: 1999 Paitin di Pasquero-Elia Barbaresco Vecchie Vigne Sorì Paitin Nebbiolo. VM 92. The 1999 Barbaresco Sorì Paitin Vecchie Vigne is dark, powerful and opulent, with more than enough stuffing to age well for the better part of the next decade. Smoke, menthol, tar, black fruit and French oak blossom in the glass as this resonant, exuberant Barbaresco show off its unique, totally compelling personality. The French oak is present, but well balanced at the same time. (Drink between 2014-2022)
SPINACH POTATO GNOCCHI castelmagno fonduta, tuscan kale pesto.
RISOTTO MILANESE saffron-risotto, bone marrow, roasting jus.
PAPPARDELLE wild boar sugo, shaved black melanosporum truffle.
SEA ROBIN. heirloom chrry tomatoes, farro perlato, tuscan kale, celery root broth.
GRILLED LAMB CHOPS charred cauliflower, couscous, almond-raisin gremolata.
The dessert menu.
LEMON SEMIFREDDO. meringue, pistachio sponge, pistachio creme anglaise.
TRIPLE-LAYERED CHOCOLATE TART. figs, grapefruit-campari sorbet.
BASQUE CHEESECAKE. berry coulis, fresh berries. Not actually Basque at all, much denser like a regular cheesecake, still good though.
Food. The food at Brera is very good. It’s very Italian, with a fairly non Italian “vibe” to the place and a more modern share plates style, but the actual pastas and risotto itself is quite Italian, if amped up a bit.
Service. Service was great and we were treated like family. Wine service in particular is great.
Atmosphere. I love the big factory look. It’s a little loud, but not as bad as some (Bestia!). Outside on the patio was lovely.
Wines. Great wines (but I brought them). I think they have a good list too. I don’t pay too much attention to lists.
Because we didn’t have ENOUGH dessert, and we were picking up our kids in Westwood, we stopped at S&R which is a classic Persian Ice Cream place.
Crowded as usual, even during the pandemic.
Rose I think.
The classic Saffron and Pistachio on top of Jasmine. I do really like the flavors here but the texture is that very stretchy grainy Persian ice cream texture.