Steps from their Silverlake boho-chic neighborhood bistro Sawyer, partners Beau Laughlin, Brett Cranston, and Jay Milliken have launched another addition to the Silverlake food scene. Kettle Black features Italian-inspired cuisine helmed by Exec Chef Sydney C. Hunter III in a really bitchen 3K square-foot space designed by the trio of restaurateurs/general contractors in collaboration with Carlos Anthony Lopez (@the_project_assassin.)
On a busy midweek evening, neighborhood regulars and foodies were gabbing over a really nifty vintage and house cocktail menu, a well-curated Italian wine list, and housemade Vermouth. The vintage cocktail list includes special nods to the past like Daquiri, Rob Roy, Negroni, Tom Collins and an Aviation with creme de violette, lemon, maraschino cherry liqueur and gin. I had a pleasant flirtation with the Aperol Spritz.
Kettle Black is the sort of spot where you’re torn between sharing plates with your dining partner and going it on your own to get every last bite. We chose the former because the menu had so many enticing options, with antipasti, dishes “from the fire,” thin, blistery pizzas, pastas, a flat iron steak, Branzino and Mary’s Half-Roasted Chicken.
To best experience Kettle Black you’ve got to negotiate the flavor profiles. Our server steered us towards a Pulpo (octopus with fregola sarta insalata, ‘nduja, mint and sherry vinegar ) instead of the Panzanella or Wild Arugula Salad when we told him we were considering the Pizza de Parma (with arugula, lemon vinaigrette, Prosciutto di Parma and Parmesan Reggiano), which would have been redundant. We followed up with what may be one of L.A.’s tastiest eggplant dishes “from the fire,” with saba vin cotto, garlic, olive oil, Parmesan and chili flake.
Working our way through the menu, we made mental notes to try the cauliflower with bagna cauda, fried capers, pickled raisins and pine nuts on our next visit — or maybe the Polpette (meatballs) with San Marzano tomato sauce, Pecorino Romano and grilled bread, as well as the Margherita pizza, which looked really good. Other pizza options include Patata (with broccolini, Yukon potato, creme fraiche and sunny-side up egg), Polpette, and Funghi with taleggio, gorgonzola and crimini mushrooms.
Our server recommended the Agnolotti filled with zucchini pesto and lemon zest, indulgent but fresh. Other choices include Cacio e Pepe, Cappellini in Parmesan Brodo with black peppercorn; Gnocchi with braised lamb, sun-dried tomato and baby zucchini; Pappardelle with maitake mushroom and nasturtium butter; and Garganelli with wood-fired Bolognese and Pecorino Romano.
We skipped over the entrees, which include a flat iron steak accompanied with braised Tuscan kale, Cannelini beans and gremolota, Branzino and a fire-roasted half Mary’s chicken.
Dessert selections are classically Italian with an Affogato and a Vanilla Panna Cotta. We split a Siciliano, amaro sponge cake topped with candied pecans and smoked meringue served in a glass.
We’ll definitely be back for the well-curated menu, stylish, elegant ambiance and fabulous cocktail list.