A2 Rating Scale (out of 5):
WHAT: Seriously serious Italian food – Officine Brera (still don’t know how to pronounce it- help please?).
WHO: The group to bring you Factory Kitchen – another Italian fare joint in downtown.
WHERE: The Arts District in DTLA.
WHEN: Weekday lunch 11:30-2:30PM and dinner nightly, beginning at 5PM.
WHAT TO KNOW: You can see, feel and taste the authenticity in this place. The menu is inspired by the meals and memories that Chef Angelo Auriana and owner Matteo Ferdinandi had while growing up on the countryside of Northern Italy. I mean, I’m Italian and I know food and I could barely understand the menu. We were lucky to have the Matteo walk us through it (Grazie!) although we could barely understand him with his thick accent. Did I just drive past the 101 and end up in Italy?
WHAT TO ORDER: One of the tastiest things we ate wasn’t even on the menu- Farinata. Typically a street food; it’s a crepe made of basically chickpea flour, water, olive oil and salt and served warm. They brought it out to us by surprise, so not sure how to get it, but just make sure you do — I have faith in you. The kale salad (Fagiolini- $14) with green beans, radishes and toasted hazelnuts was the lighter start we needed to prepare us for what was coming. The first pasta up was house made bread dumplings with beans, pork and reggiano (Pisarei E Faso- $18) and this dish was a favorite of mine, but not of the majority of the table (if you don’t like beans I would stay away, as the beans are the star of this show). Next up was the Gnocchi ($19) with a simple white sauce, cheese and chives and it is NECESSARY for every single table in house. Like little clouds of perfection bursting with joy in your mouth and bringing you all sorts of happiness (yes, were still talking food here, not drugs). Lastly, the risotto with bone marrow and saffron (Milanese- $22) is a must for any serious foodie because this is a serious dish that serious foodie people will be talking about. And wine, lotso wine.
WHAT TO SKIP: Like most meals we started with the meat and cheese board (Mesin Con Salam- $17) and while it was fine, I would save that room for more pastas and entrée meats. While the Cannelloni ($24) pasta was a favorite by some of our homegirls, this was at the bottom for me, as I found it too rich and heavy—never thought I would ever turn down béchamel and foie gras.
WHERE IT BE: In possibly the scariest location we’ve ventured to since the birth of this blog. It’s in the Arts District, which you’ll be going to more and more often like us, but it had us driving through Skid Row to get there this time- so look at the route your google maps give you before you just start listening to that annoying voice that rudely interrupts that Beyonce concert you were having in your car.
THAT VIBE THOUGH: Industrial, sophisticated and modern. Walking in, not many LA restaurants give off such an initial, yet lasting impression (and this is not just because of the large space).
WHO YOU’LL SEE/WHO TO BRING: Your old boss who put you through hell and has since retired because he’s made enough money and well, he’s old. Nahhh, hopefully not, but you just might. We were curious if the older crowd was due to our early-bird reservation of 6:30PM, but as we dragged out our first drinks at the bar and spaced out the meal, the crowd seemed to stay the same even into those later hours. Not saying this is a bad thing (if anything, I learned that with the right people the bottles on bottles thing doesn’t have to ever stop happening- Hallelujah), but this might be more of a place to bring the Grandparents while in town, rather than the hott and younger potential fling.
WHAT TO WEAR: We have never found this part of town to be that fancy, but given the crowd here, it seemed a little more so than we had assumed. Everyone looked pretty nice with sport coats and dresses/heels- so I was happy with my LBD choice (I mean, you really can’t go wrong). And “LBD” stands for “little black dress” for the boys out there; not like you need to know that, just know you like it.
WHERE TO PARK: Valet $7. Do not try and find street parking because of the area, so make sure to bring casholla. And normally we say uber/lyft, but I would recommend just having a DD because you do not want to be lost or driving around these parts with a random scary driver (there are a lot of dark corners and streets you could disappear into- or maybe I just watch too many Lifetime movies #guiltypleasure).
EDDR LIFE LESSON: Be grateful for what you have. As I was driving through Skid Row on my way spend around $20 + on a small dish of pasta (it’s so sad/ridiculous even typing), I was remind how lucky I am to be able to live the life I live. Yes I work hard to be able to enjoy these luxuries, but not everyone is dealt such a positive deck. I challenge you to help out in some way; whether it’s going through your closet and donating two bags of clothes you don’t wear anymore or knocking off one trip a week, just for the summer, to your coffee shop of choice and saving that money to donate: https://losangelesmission.org/. Plus everyone could use some good karma- I know I can.
A2 FINAL THOUGHT: The food was good. The space was picture-perfect. The crowd was meh. The service was on-top-of-it. And the location was wack. Never has a review/rating been so all over the board. Will we return? That is TBD. And lastly, special thanks to all my girls for making every night the best night!
From the gym trying to burn off all that pasta,
Officine Brera ↔ 1331 E. 6th Street, LA, CA 90021 ↔ 213-553-8006