When Vic Casanova left Culina at the Four Seasons in 2011, he went small, opening an intimate Italian restaurant in Mid-City Los Angeles with wife Jessa called Gusto, which features exposed wood rafters and red and white walls lined with mirrors. Casanova and a Puglian chef make all the pastas in-house, including thick, cored bucatini with good chew.
Bucatini Carbonara ($23) features a sizable serving of al dente noodles slicked with the fat from sweated pancetta cubes. The pasta is tossed with crisp clipped scallions and seasoned with a liberal helping of black pepper. An egg yolk rests on top of the pasta, and your server will break it at the table, joining pork juice in forming a rich, sticky, satisfying sauce.
Casanova is such a big believer in quality control that he dines weekly at Gusto to make sure the pastas (and salads and entrées) are really popping. He was at an adjacent table with his family during my dinner, but based on this bowl, he had nothing to worry about.
Dose of Vitamin P spotlights my favorite pork dish from the previous week.