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The insider’s view of Downtown’s culture, food, drinks, and the people who shape it.


Bestia

Bestia

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Service at Bestia is less than 4 hours away and Christina Raptis is on the phone playing reservation Tetris. People are trying to squeeze themselves into a packed stack of 400 reservations for the night. Oh, it’s important to note — this isn’t a Friday night, it’s a Monday.

Bestia6
Bestia6

Bestia (‘Beast’ in Italian) debuted in Downtown three years ago and it’s curled up into a highly coveted corner as a beloved beast in the restaurant business. Its siren call will even get beach dwellers to venture east for a bite to eat. “We have customers that have been here like 140 times! That’s crazy! Same people! Now, how do you satisfy people that have been here 140 times? You have to change things up,” says Head Chef Ori Menashe.

Bestia2
Bestia2

Chef Menashe co-owns Bestia with his wife, Pastry Chef Genevieve Gergis and both make good on their daily promise of a meal backed by days of preparation, and a menu that rotates with the seasons. “All our ragus are four day preparations — from butchering the animal to roasting the bones and making a 24-hour stock from it, reducing the stock then cooking a soffritto for nine hours before we even add the meat in there.” This is why the duo say they can’t open for lunch and still provide the depth of quality customers have come to expect. Gergis insists, “We don’t take the easy way out. We don’t add more seats and de-complicate the menu to increase profitability.” And it shows. The dishes they serve up are simple yet layered with complicated flavors that evolve with each bite.

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Bestia4
Bestia3
Bestia3

But Bestia’s best ingredient is one you can’t buy: the dynamic between Menashe and Gergis. They rein each other in, but trust each other enough to blurt out crazy concepts they might want to introduce to the menu. It’s an open dialogue. A delicate and loving balancing act of opposites. Chef Menashe runs the savory side and Gergis makes sure to send you off with the perfect last bite. This woman knows how to extract your sweet tooth’s deepest desires. Just try her rice pudding or pear tart.

Bestia1
Bestia1

You might say you can taste the couple’s intense dedication in dishes like the Cavatelli alla Norcina, a customer favorite. This dish is bursting with umami notes thanks to these star ingredients: housemade pork sausage, black truffles, anchovies, parmesan cheese. You can almost taste the words, can’t you?

Bestia5
Bestia5

www.bestiala.com

Written by:
Linda Hosmer
Photographed by:
Logan Havens & Kort Havens
Videography by:
Logan Havens & Kort Havens

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