A few things had changed since my first visit back in January. For one, Baccetti was now open for lunch. For another, they now offered Italian language lessons WITH FOOD, once a quarter (check their Instagram).
I’d been ravenous to join their second round of classes for the year. However due to upcoming travel schedules, I would have missed two classes. Which would unfortunately make it an unworthy proposition before summer.
But, could I choose it for our dinner party’s next hot spot? Indeed. So on a lovely Spring evening, we found ourselves at Bacetti gathered around a table for four. It was an absolute pleasure to introduce friends to one of my favorite Los Angeles Italian restaurants.
Immediately upon seating, I ordered the FOCACCIA EBRAICA (with taggiasca olives, currants, rosemary, and sea salt with honey butter) for the table. It was a no brainer, instinct, mandatory for dining. Once it arrived, the ooh’s and ahh were music to my ears in appreciation.
Since Katharine had never tried an orange wine, I ordered a glass of the 2021 Catarratto by Agricola Vira from Sicily, Italy. It was fruity and more fuller in body than Katharine’s 2020 Sikelo Bianco (Grecanico) by Cantina Marilina, also from Sicily. She described hers as having a lemon drop finish. Whereas mine was more floral. It’s was a great taste to start the evening off right.
With consensus, the dining plan was decided.
First up, the GNOCCHI ALLA ROMANA (herbs, heavy cream, wagon wheel cheese) was brought to the table. With three polenta pieces, I wondered how we were all going to share it among the four of us. The solution was to switch from an American based size expectation to European. We didn’t need full plates. We just needed enough to taste and savor. I easily cut the three pieces in half and served them. The small bites were perfect.
Next, the CAPRICCIOSA (soppressata, tomato, olive, artichoke, parmigiano) was served. Now, we chose this because the idea of artichoke on a pizza was so WTF and so Mediterranean inspired that we felt compelled to order it. Everything – from the dough to the olives to the artichoke was *chef’s kiss*. With added dried ground chilis for additional heat and it was absolutely perfect.
Following, the STROZZAPRETI (cacio e pepe) arrived. Now, I’d originally hesitated on ordering the cacao e pepe because I’d recently had it at Holloway House Club. However, when our original choice of MAFALDINE (short rib ragu, parmigiano) was unavailable, it was our next choice.
I will say this – It was actually lovely to be able to compare two dishes similarly. The cacio e pepe at Holloway House Club was actually a bit too peppery. In contrast, the cacio e pepe at Bacetti was delicately balanced and more cheese forward. It was similar to the outstanding version I enjoyed at Mother Wolf. The table raved about the simpleness and delightfulness of the dish.
Soon, it was time for our main course. The MALALE (12oz pan-seared pork chop, agrodolce, fuji apple, romanesco, farro, pine nuts) was just – outstanding. I don’t know if it was made with the tears of joy from children after dancing in happiness to Little Nas X’s “Old Town Road” for the 1,000th time. But, this dish was pure oral pleasure.
To go with pork chop, I ordered a glass of the 2021 Rustico (Sangiovose) by Conestabile della Staffa from Umbria, Italy. My only caveat is that I wish I’d ordered it earlier. È magnifico!
Before we knew it, a few hours had passed and it was time for our last three dishes for dessert. When the PANNA COTTA (citrus-saffron curd, passionfruit, blood orange), the FOGATO (espresso-infused Italian ice, vanilla gelato) and the TORTA di CIOCCOLATA (flourless dark chocolate tart, almond crust, sea salt) were placed before us, we – spoons in hand – attacked.
My personal favorite? The panna cotta, for sure. The citrus-saffron curd was a taste can only be felt – not so much described in mere words. It was a desert that creates a sense of awe in the diner. Who could have thought of such a delicious layer of flavor?
Yes, it was that good.
At one point in the evening, I turned to Katharine and asked, “Wait, how long have we known each other? How long have we been friends?”
Together, we put our heads together and began our calculations.
Turns out, it was already close to 25 years.
With plenty more to come.
1509 Echo Park Ave
Los Angeles, California 90026