Sotto | 99 Essential Restaurants 2015


photo by Anne Fishbein

After four years holding court in a dark basement along Pico Boulevard, Sotto’s shining star has yet to diminish. The Southern Italian cooking remains as meticulous and magnificently satisfying as ever: rustic squid-ink pasta showered with shaved bottarga and crushed pistachios, lush fennel-crusted pork chops and bubbly, char-edged pizzas. The cocktail program is still inventive and slightly silly, and the wine list still vast and fascinating. But the most compelling reason for a return visit might be the handful of specials chef-partner Steve Samson puts on the menu every night, which might include an impossibly meaty tagliatelle al ragu like his Bolognese mother used to make, or a cheese-thickened risotto splashed with red wine and crunchy bits of endive. If Sotto continues to grow beyond its Sicilian roots, it’s a restaurant that will shine bright for years to come.— Garrett Snyder