Had my best meal here the other night and glad to report they’re still going strong post-chef colby
burrata & stone fruit - plum, nectarine, mint, mizuna
Besides an uber, this is one of the best things to order at chi spacca for a vegetarian. The balance of flavors was outstanding. Sweet, creamy, tart, bitter, spicy. Loved the bits of garlic and chillies.
(new) dry aged “liberty” duck - balsamic glaze, forbidden rice
New dish from chef Francis will give charcoal’s perfect 21 day aged duck some stiff competition.
One to two week aged half duck before getting its balsamic glaze bath and spices.
ready to go in the oven
expertly deboned by chef francis
I wish they plated the leg bone and wing to gnaw on.
The meat was juicy and tender with a delicous crispy mahogany skin.
forbidden rice with bits of pork
This actually had more socarrat than my paella at otono.
veal tongue, oregano vinaigrette
Like french kissing elsie the cow.
porcini rubbed beef short ribs salsa verde, scallion
Surprisingly bland and tough
beef and bone marrow pie, beef cheek, cippolini, funghi, side of mashed butter
More comforting than sitting on the couch wearing a snuggie and watching cat videos on youtube.
Richer than a Fuerdai USC student on an expense account.
And so bony it’s making Keira Knightley jealous.
Had another great dinner at chi spacca. I’m impressed how consistently consistent the small kitchen executes the large menu here.
spacca caesar - cauliflower, escarole, anchovy
I was watching them make this and each leaf was individually dressed so perfectly it’ll be on the cover of next month’s vanity fair. Top three caesar salads I’ve ever had. (@Bookwich).
pollo alla diavola su crostone - pane rustique, onions, lemon
Wow, highlight of the night. Great flavor throughout the juicy, moist meat. And those onions and bread at the bottom soaking up all the chicken juice was brilliant. Thanks for the rec @Chowseeker1999. @TheCookie this has your name all over it.
Chi SPACCA is one of those places that while relatively young (compared to many eateries around town) has already risen to a certain level of awareness and popularity due to a strong debut and well-executed early years under Chef Chad Colby (who has since departed). Part of what Jonathan Gold humorously dubbed “The Mozzaplex,” Chi SPACCA is the 3rd arm of Chef-Owner Nancy Silverton and business partner Joe Bastianich’s success at the corner of Melrose & Highland, sitting next to Pizzeria Mozza and Osteria Mozza.
Just as @Porthos was scared away by Animal’s heavy dishes, I think Chi SPACCA’s Pancetta might be the one that I’ll be moving away from on future visits. There’s no other way to put it: Their “Pancetta” was really just pure Pork Fat. Yes, you might see a little striation of what looks like Pork Meat, but it’s really 95% Fat. I took a bite of it, and, yup, that was good enough for me. It’s decadent and big and a proud expression of what Chi SPACCA serves, but it was too heavy for me.
Hearing @robert and numerous others recommend this, we had to give this a shot. The Grilled Octopus was smoky, with a beautiful char, tender (not rubbery) and the Pureed Chickpeas and Fried Chickpeas were a nice pairing.
I love Japanese preparations for various Fish Collars (e.g., Hamachi Kama (Yellowtail Collar)), and hearing @Nemroz rave about Chi SPACCA’s preparation meant a must order for us.
Firstly, @Nemroz was right: This dish had incredible flavor combinations! The Amberjack Collar meat was moist, flaky, just beautiful morsels of lightly smoky Grilled Amberjack. The Zhug was quite spicy and interesting in making an appearance with this Israeli cuisine renaissance of sorts. I remember first trying Zhug/Skhug at Kismet, and then seeing it appear at Mh Zh in Silver Lake, then noticing it at Ta-Eem Grill (which probably was one of the earlier places to serve it). Since then I’ve noticed some variation of this at a bunch of restaurants around town. Not that it’s a bad thing: It’s delicious!
So Chi SPACCA’s version is zesty, definitely spicier than many versions around town, and a nice pairing with the Amberjack, when added with the creaminess of the Labneh. Thanks @Nemroz for the recommendation!
Reading the words “Dry Aged Liberty Duck” immediately brought back happy memories of Chef Citrin’s excellent and amazing Aged Duck preparation at Charcoal. We excitedly ordered this in the hopes we’d have another great Aged Duck preparation around town to enjoy.
I loved the lacquering of the Duck Skin, although it wasn’t really crispy like Peking Duck or something. But still it had great flavor from the Balsamic Glaze and each piece of the Aged Duck was moist and tender.
I agree with @PorkyBelly that this is a great dish. I think I like Charcoal’s version more, but this one is still very good.
These also felt a bit excessive by the end of this meal, but perhaps they’d be perfectly fine on their own. The Grilled Long Beans were smoky with heavy charring and quite soft (perhaps a touch too soft).
What this Roasted Chicken lacks in crisped skin, it makes up for it in good marinated flavors that seeped into the Chicken meat itself (even the Chicken Breast portion), and just a good juicy bird overall.
Chi SPACCA is one of those places that arrived on the scene with a big, bold culinary viewpoint (not in the absurd Guy Fieri fusion craziness, but with big cuts of meat, being unabashedly meat-centric and not afraid of fat or cholesterol). When you approach it from that point-of-view, you’ll be treated with some very good, almost bombastic meaty, fatty dishes that sing with flavors.
The Tomahawk Pork Chop, the Pollo alla Diavola (Roasted Jidori Chicken), the Aged Roasted Duck are all excellent and worth ordering. The Charred Octopus is great, as is the Grilled Amberjack Collars.
It’s when you order more than a few of these dishes (including Appetizers) together that you start to crave something lighter, something green, something not charred, not doused in heavy sauces, not mixed with fat that might slightly derail your enjoyment of the evening.
Chi SPACCA is great in small doses (for our palates), but I don’t think I could eat there every week. But when we do go and take our first bite of whatever meaty, smoky, grilled proteins the chefs are cooking up, we forget all about the concerns as the deliciousness hits our palate.
6610 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038
Tel: (323) 297-1133
Update 1: Carabinero Prawns, the Bistecca Fiorentina 50 oz and more!
Thanks. Yah totally. It should’ve just been called “Lardo,” but on the menu and our server called it “Pancetta.” Either way it was… a lot of fat.
Overall, though, yah I think it’d be nice to go with 4 - 6 people to spread out that heaviness. I just wish there were a few more bright, crisp, lighter fare to mix in. I still like the place of course.
Yah definitely give the Chicken a try. While it’s called “diavola” on the menu, we didn’t find it very spicy (just lightly spicy), but that visit was a couple years ago, so maybe it’s changed. Thanks for the stone fruit salad suggestion.