At Maccheroni Republic, the charming trattoria with a planter-lined patio from longtime Los Angeles restaurateurs Antonio Tommasi and Jean-Louis de Mori in downtown L.A., pasta is clearly the star. Daily Homemade Pastas occupy an entire column on the menu, along with a sizable chunk of the Specials list. The logo even features three ships flying flags that depict bound wheat stalks. One day, if ships do set sail for a distant land crafted from maccheroni, or at least fueled by the namesake pasta tubes, count me in. Until then, I’m happy to feast on M.R.’s high value, house-made pasta in the shadow of Grand Central Market.
On my maiden voyage to Maccheroni Republic, my favorite pasta consisted of Cuffie al Nero di Sepia ($13.95). Cuffie translates from Italian as bonnets, and the squid ink stained pastas indeed resemble hats, or possibly umbrellas or jellyfish, depending on your perspective. Regardless, the cuffie cradles a hefty amount of aromatic, saffron stained cream sauce, which hosts big chunks of supple sole ragout. If Tommasi and de Mori continue to turn out dishes like this, they might have to increase their ambitions from a mere republic.
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