Estrano - A Pictorial Journey To Hamster’s Paradise

Y’all heard about Estrano yet? It’s a pop-up from chef Diego Argosti (who has cooked at Bestia, Bavel, Chi Spacca, elsewhere) and friends focused primarily on some truly wild ass pasta. But thankfully, whatever he decides to put on top or inside, the pasta itself is absolutely always on point.

Last night they popped up at very excellent Khmer sandwich shop Gamboge, serving an outrageously hip crowd a menu of deeply strange and thoroughly delicious pasta-focused dishes.

Outside in the courtyard it was a cocktail party, with small bowls of pasta and natural wine flowing. Everything looked great and fun, a young and hip restaurant-industry heavy crowd standing around chowing down and drinking funky wine and shooting the breeze. The menu was really interesting, and it was originally why I went.


Chef Diego also debuted his new tasting menu of 5 courses at the chef’s counter, which I managed to finagle my way into. I was trying to take pix subtly so I looked like I fit in with my intimidatingly trendy neighbors, so as usual my photos suck. Sorry!
(Fwiw Diego himself is super cool and not pretentious or hipstery - in fact he’s pretty punk rock and down to earth. I’m just projecting my insecurities onto the crowd)

Dumpling / ravioli stuffed with tender beef, coated in a rich onion broth with a melted-cheese spoon. Delicious and such a fun flip on the format, a highlight. Though that spoon was cooked on the plancha to melt the cheese and I definitely burned my idiot mouth on first bite.

Shrimp toast aguachile. Which was actually uni toast with pickled carrots, and then a bit of aguachile and fried shrimp heads too. Another easy win, everything was great and totally intuitive. Buttery toast + Uni + chili + shrimp + lime just works.

Whole fried quail stuffed with spam fried rice, quail egg, chili, etc. The chili oil is a recurring theme, and a good one. Diego makes the spam himself, which is awesome. This was also good as hell, super salty/savory but balanced with the pickled onion and chili.

Stuffed pappardelle, Khmer pork and lemongrass filling, brown butter sauce. I mean, hell yeah. Never seen stuffed pappardelle before, and this one was awesome. Nice and al dente, and stuffed with Gamboge’s own Khmer pork filling. Lemongrass brightened up the richness of the brown butter sauce, another super cool combo.

This was the weird one. Marshmallow cream, peanuts, and chocolate/black garlic ice cream with a chili oil drizzle. Against all odds, it was also great. Good texture on the ice cream/marshmallow/peanut combo, with a little savory note from the garlic that didn’t overpower, and a subtle heat. Tbh this is my kind of dessert, but it probably wouldn’t work for everyone. It could be a bit of a thinker.

All in all I really enjoyed the experience, and I look forward to what they’ve got next. It’s a funky personal pop-up, but these are seasoned cooks with high end training, and it shows.


Sounds delicious, though pappardelle are by definition not stuffed. Italians would probably call that a raviolo or agnolotto. Or maybe an agnolottone, since it’s 2-3 times the usual size.

How did you resist getting all four add-ons?

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I saw this on their story and 100% want this. I’ve been jonesing for shrimp toast for awhile now.

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That probably explains why it didn’t sound familiar! I missed a bit of the story, but I believe Chef said it was inspired by a recipe from Mark Vetri’s Mastering Pasta. Maybe this one?

Would definitely have added on, but it was a pretty solid amount of food and I had showed up sort of intending to graze on a couple smaller dishes so I didn’t come as hungry as I might have.

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I thought this was a pretty damn cool non-traditional take on it!


Despite the name of the dish, in the instructions Vetri’s recipe actually refers to them as ravioli. They’re 1-1/2 inches wide, so actually about twice as wide as pappardelle. In Italy, noodles that wide are officially called lasagne, but even Italians get confused if they order lasagne and get a bowl of wide noodles instead of a chunk of casserole.

Was the pork braised, so kind of like pot roast? Or ground, so more like ragù? The picture makes me crave agnolotti dal plin.

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Definitely more on the ragu side, though it was sort of halfway between what I think of as ragu and Nam Prik Ong. Wish I had gotten the name of the Khmer filling. Agnolotti dal plin look great.

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looks great, the menu and punk rock vibe reminds me of schwa in chicago


He was expediting/taking orders at the Little Dacha pop up last Wednesday outside Alma in Virgil Village, which was also great.

Really fun only in LA vibe.