Bestia was making good food out of the gate, but there’s no doubt this ostensibly-Italian restaurant is far better than when Ori Menashe, Genevieve Gergis and business partner Bill Chait debuted in the downtown L.A. Arts District last November. Many dishes on the opening menu have gotten even better, and new dishes continue to dazzle. My latest dinner at Bestia was damn near triumphant, and my favorite dish starred Bill Niman Ranch Grass-Fed Grilled Beef Tongue ($14).
The tongue, sourced from a renowned Northern California rancher, started its odyssey to a Bestia plate by being pressure cooked for six hours until ultra tender. Bestia chefs seared the thick-cut meat a la plancha. The slices rested on earthy lentils and supported a salsa verde crafted with capers, pickled shallots and parsley. Fermented chilies and red wine vinegar packed additional punch, and the ultimate topper consisted of greens and tart pickled eggplant stained purple with beet juice. This dish was a model for the type of balance Bestia brings to dishes, including a rich, expertly cooked protein, taming acidity, and textural contrast.