75: Porcetto at Sotto
Leading up to this year's Best of L.A. issue (due out Oct. 4), we'll be counting down, in no particular order, 100 of our favorite dishes.
A. Scattergood porcetto at Sotto
75: Porcetto at Sotto.
Porchetta is one of those dishes that, once you've tried it, tends to feature prominently in recurrent dreams. The same genre of dream as those in which Dario Cecchini intones Dante in Italian and everybody's pasta turns out like Gino Angelini's and world peace is somehow achieved through fennel pollen. Porchetta, or porcetto as they call it at Sotto, is magic in the form of slow-roasted pork. Seasoned with salted herbs. Blasted in a 525-degree oven (as high as Sotto's goes) until the skin puffs. Then alchemized via four hours at 300 until it eventually comes to rest, between some truly excellent house-made bread, on your table.
Steve Samson and Zack Pollack only serve their porcetto (singular, although you could happily order a dozen of them and change the vowel) at lunchtime, which is a good enough reason to haunt that stretch of Pico-Robertson. Theirs is kind of like the Platonic ideal of a sandwich, a perfect rendering of both meat and bread, presented with very little to distract you from the confluence of the two. There is a bit of arugula -- in consideration of us here, as according to the chefs there would be no greens added to the dish were we in Italy -- and a deft, minimalist side of pickled fennel, cauliflower and carrots. But those are just margin notes, a bit of color and acid to further demonstrate the genius of the dish itself.
Apparently Italy's Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies has designated this dish as a prodotto agroalimentare tradizionale (P.A.T.), or a regional food with protected status, which makes it sound more like a rare bird in a Kafka short story than a cave-aged French cheese or a place-specific bottle of wine, but you get the idea. After a few lunches at Sotto -- or at Mozza2Go, which also has a glorious porchetta sandwich -- you'd probably advocate for a whole division of the FDA just for making the stuff.
Check out the rest of our 100 of our favorite dishes. Suggestion? Write us a comment.
100: Lukshon's Dan Dan Noodles
99: Cemita de Milanesa at Cemitas Poblanos Elviritas #1
98: Chichen Itza's Cochinita Pibil
97: Tsukemen at Tsujita L.A.
96: La Cevicheria's Bloody Clam Ceviche
95: Duck Shawarma at Momed
94: Peruvian Chicken at Pollo a la Brasa
93: Squash Blossom Quesadilla at Antojitos Carmen
92: Thai Boat Noodles at Pa-Ord
91: Baco Mercat's Bazole
90: Furikake Kettle Corn at A-Frame
89: Live Santa Barbara Spot Prawns at Providence
88: Fried Pig Tails at Night + Market
87: Egg Salad Sandwich at Euro Pane
86: Galbi Jjim at Soban
85: Truffle Honey-Laced Fried Chicken at Manhattan Beach Post
84: Mool Naeng Myun at Yu Chic Naeng Myun
83: Chicken Vampiro at Mexicali Taco & Co
82: Sooo Cali Dog at Dog Haus
81: White Anchovy, Tomato and Fresno Chile Pizza at Pizzeria Mozza
80: Shu Mai at Elite Restaurant
79: Tandoori Chicken at Al-Watan
78: Chocolate Bread and Butter Pudding at The Hungry Cat
77: Agedashi Tofu at Izakaya Bincho
76: Pork Chop at Salt's Cure
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