L.A. has no shortage of great Italian food, and one of the newer iterations of our obsession with Cal-Ital comes in the form of Gesso, the beautiful, industrial restaurant on Fairfax. Serving small plates like arancini, pizzas, and entrees such as Preserved Lemon Strozzapreti, Gesso has been quietly open since last summer. It's undoubtedly one of my favorite spots in the neighborhood for happy hour-- meet up with some friends and sip on $7-$9 special cocktails while munching on bites like cauliflower and chicken liver toast. I visited for dinner a little while back and really enjoyed the variety of dishes along with their well-made cocktails.
Of course, we had to start out with a few drinks, and while I ordered my trusty negroni (I mean, this is an Italian restaurant), we also tried the Oh Snap! An interesting mix of gin, pisco, lemon, cardamom, and sugar snap peas with pea shoots, the drink seemed like a boozy green juice. Definitely fun, and maybe suited for the more health conscious.
The arancini is one of their signature dishes, and I can understand why. The fried spheres of risotto were nice and crispy on the outside, but dense and cheesy in the middle. They're served on an excellent bolognese sauce that really made the dish-- it was meaty, smokey, and I would probably eat it on just about anything.
A lovely, seasonally appropriate offering was their Grilled Pear & Burrata: a simple plate of the aforementioned ingredients along with silky strands of prosciutto. When piled onto the accompanying grilled bread, it created a bite that was rich, creamy, salty, and sweet. Very satisfying!
One of my favorite dishes of the evening was the Chicken Liver Tortellini, which were beautiful little pasta filled with a rich, flavorful chicken liver. The chicken liver melted in the mouth, and it was just so tasty.
Finally, we couldn't leave without getting a pizza! We opted for a simple Blistered Tomato Pizza with basil, parsley, and mint. I loved the little pops of sweet tomatoes, and the thin, crunchy crust provided a really nice foundation.
Overall, our meal at Gesso was really fun. It's a great place to pop by for a casual dinner or happy hour, indulging in a few drinks, small plates, and a pizza.