Test Kitchen at Bestia, which just ended its run this weekend, is to get a taste of a chefs' new project or concept. Walter Manzke testing out menu ideas for Republique, for instance, or Jeremy Fox showing us what we might eat at Barnyard (if he was sticking around). But it's often more of a guest chef experience because the restaurant and kitchen aren't theirs. Except for Ori Menashe, a young chef who worked alongside Gino Angelini for years, whose Test Kitchen nights were not only previews his menu, but of his entire restaurant - Bestia.
The restaurant itself is pretty stunning with its industrial-chic look, meat-hook light fixtures and various seating levels for dining. You can sit at the bar or along counters in front of the chefs; there are communal tables and four-person booths that, if you're friendly with your neighbors, feel pretty communal, too. Bestia is backed by Bill Chait, who's also involved with other incredibly successful restaurants like Sotto, Picca and Short Order. This is a great partnership.
Menashe has a lot of talent, especially with his salumi (all house-cured) and hand-made pastas, and his pastry chef wife, Genevieve Gergis, makes some lovely rustic desserts. It's less specific Italian regional cuisine than a celebration of the whole country, with a lot of California seasonality. The cocktail program is courtesy Julian Cox and Josh Goldman, and, if the Test Kitchen nights are any example, we have high hopes for an interesting wine list. There is a lot of potential in this Warehouse District space.
Check out the slide show for a quick peek - we're told the restaurant will debut this month, possibly around Thanksgiving weekend. Get ready.