The Factory Kitchen brings a little Italy by way of L.A.
There are some types of places where you automatically feel at home—Italian restaurants are that for me. Nothing soothes the soul like burrata, or tantalizes the tongue like a plate of rich pasta. At The Factory Kitchen in The Venetian, an outpost of the popular L.A. Arts District restaurant, you get that feeling of comfort, but with a bright, modern edge.
The bar at the front makes a great place to chill and grab a drink before your meal. There are some heartily creative, perhaps even trendy, cocktails on the menu—consider the Big Brother, with bone marrow-infused bourbon, Averna, walnut and angostura bitters and orange peel. The alcohol may contribute a bit to how relaxed you are, and that’s a very good thing. There are just a few beers, but they’re good ones, with a couple of local offerings, a couple from California and a couple from Italy—of course. The wine list is extensive, and you’ll find plenty of help in selecting the proper glass for whatever course you are pairing it with.
Starting the meal with appetizers is an excellent idea, and those tiny, sweet teardrops of pepper called peperú come stuffed with a soft cheese; they’re a mere mouthful, but perfect for a first bite. Italian beer-battered leeks with chickpea fritters or an 18-month aged prosciutto, covering lightly fried sage dough and a super-soft stracciatella atop that, make for a good second one. But the focaccina calda al formaggio may make you forgo those dishes—the puffy flatbreads, with cheeses and meat inside, are delightful. The tradizionale, with crescenza cheese and lovely saltiness, is hard to stop munching on even if the entrée’s coming.
Nosh The Factory Kitchen
The mandilli di seta might make holding back a tad seem wise, though. The folded squares of egg pasta are perfect for the almond basil pesto. Or try the casonzei, a pork sausage and veal ravioli with cured pork belly and reggiano. If you want to see how the pasta here is made, saunter back through the restaurant to the far end, where you may be lucky enough to catch a show—the pasta here is created by hand.
The meat lovers in your group may want to head down the menu to the slow-roasted pork belly, curving slices of meat across the plate in an unctuous, truly decadent dish. But you’ll find sea scallops and pink snapper, lamb chops and ribeye, also, plus several dishes of the day. The charred Brussels sprouts, accented with Ligurian olive oil, make a superior side.
I’m always hesitant to order dessert after dinner, but I rarely regret it when I do. The Factory Kitchen has several excellent options, from a smooth panna cotta and a warm apple bread pudding to house-made sorbets and gelatos, but cannoli is hard to beat in an Italian restaurant. This one is super interesting, with pistachio on one end and orange marmalade on the other. Yay for the two-fer!
The Venetian, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. daily. 702.414.1222