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Photos: Pistola Is An Updated Take On A 1950s, NYC-Style Italian Steakhouse
If you pass by Pistola on Third Street in the Fairfax District, you won't be able to miss it. The Italian restaurant and steakhouse that recently took over AOC's old location now looks like the front of a steel barn, painted in a matte black. A simple white "Pistola" sign hangs to the right of the sleek building.
The joint, which opened last month, pays homage to 1950s Italian restaurants of New York City. Inside the classy eatery is a decor that matches the monochromatic color scheme from the outside. White tablecloths cover the tables and black, leather chairs and plush, gray booths circle around them. There's also a bar with black stools that sit to the right of the entrance. This is the latest restaurant venture of executive chef Vic Casanova (Gusto) and general manager Seth Glassman (BOA Steakhouse, Rivabella).
LAist recently stopped by Pistola for a dinner tasting. The restaurant feels like the type of place where a modern-day Rat Pack would hang. There are people grabbing one of their Godfather-themed cocktails (with names like Hush Money and The Young Turk) at the bar, and others sitting in groups having dinner at the tables. The menu is meant to be shared family-style, so you'd benefit from going with a group. It's all surprisingly unpretentious for a pricey steakhouse.
The restaurant excels in freshly-made pastas. We enjoyed their Squid Ink Agnolotti that is packed with lobster, shrimp, scallop and sea urchin. It's a delicate dish that's flavorful at the same time.
One of Casanova's truly unique dishes is a Chocolate Campanelle pasta made with braised duck and giblets, rosemary and a balsamic sauce. It's packed with flavor, and the subtle chocolate flavor in the pasta (that's shaped like little horns) reminds us a bit of the complexity of a dish covered in a good mole sauce. It's sweet and savory, and one of our favorite dishes at the restaurant.
For the wine lovers, make sure to ask your server for a recommendation as the restaurant has an extensive wine list. The Sta. Rita Hills' Pinot Noir perfectly complements some of the pasta dishes we tried.
But one of the stars of the night is their dry-aged Delmonica 18 oz. steak. It's charred and cooked to perfection (we asked for a medium rare and it came out just like that—even a lot of fancy places don't get it right). We recommend pairing it with a Barbera Sauce (an Italian red wine sauce). However, their steaks will cost you a pretty penny—ranging from $54 for a NY Strip to $125 for a 40 oz. Fiorentina Porterhouse steak for two, so you might want to save this for a special occasion.
Pistola focuses on the classic dishes you'd find at an Italian restaurant like a light Little Gem salad; it's not revolutionary, but it's done well. Their Charred Mediterranean Octopus is also something you may find on Italian menus—but this one is served on a bed of braised escarole and lemon agrumoto oil.
Their fried artichokes side dish is underwhelming. Although it has a light and lemony flavor, what sticks out was the texture—it's too crispy and over-fried.
There are things that we are surprised by, like their Green Apple Crostada, which comes out warm, with a delicious crust, and covered in fresh figs, almonds and honey. So, what we're saying is: save room for dessert.
Pistola is located at 8022 W 3rd St., Fairfax District, (323) 951-9800. Appetizers cost $11 to $17, pastas from $19 to $25, and steak, chicken and pork chops from $35 to $125.
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