Arts District Restaurants
923 E. 3rd St., Arts District
Like many spots requiring hard-won reservations, Nightshade is sequestered down a quiet, need-to-know-it-to-find-it Arts District alley. Chef Mei Lin’s firstborn restaurant combines punchy Chinese flavors with Cali comfort food—beautifully prepared, bursting-with-freshness vegetables—and the results had us booking our next meal before the first was over. Lin’s staple dish is a snug layering of egg noodles, pork ragù, and silky tofu cream. If you crave heat, order the Szechuan hot quail served over a thick piece of Japanese milk bread—it tastes like the best chicken sandwich of your life but better.
1331 E. 6th St., Arts District
The word on Officine Brera hasn’t quite gotten out yet. Maybe it’s the location, almost hidden in a warehouse building in an industrial pocket of the Arts District—you need to know it’s there to find it. Angelo Auriana and Matteo Ferdinando, who run this place, grew up in Italy’s Po Valley and, fittingly, serve no-nonsense, traditional Northern Italian trattoria food. In short: Officine Brera is the real deal. A simple, unfussy interior and sensational food. Come hungry and order the beef carpaccio, drizzled in a grassy, green olive oil to start. The stinchetto—a big hunk of falling-off-the-bone pork shank on a bed of polenta—is ideal for three people to pull apart. Then the dumpling dishes: The capunsei are made with ricotta, the pisarelli with bread, and the gnocchi with potato. Oenophiles will appreciate the breadth of the wine list, full of the heavy-hitting Barolo and Amarone bottles alongside more unusual, small-production labels.
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