With the Nov. 14 opening in Venice of Scopa Italian Roots, bar and spirits masterminds Pablo Moix and Steve Livigni will be heading a unique cocktail-driven program that pays homage to vintage Los Angeles.
During a Wednesday night cocktail party-esque preview, guests, many of whom dressed in the popular hipster uniform — denim on denim — sipped Italian wines and sampled cocktails, while eagerly chasing down plates of savory and sweet Italian American provisions.
The wall of spirits that illuminates the restaurant’s bar attracts a chatty crowd and showcases what seems to be the focal point of the 160-seat space. The cocktail list shows Moix and Livigni gravitating toward agave spirits (mezcal and tequila) and features an informal introduction of rhum agricole (AOC labeled rum made from fresh sugar cane juice instead of molasses).
The Bencini Buio mixes two rhums with sweet vermouth and Campari, while the Paloma is a twist on a classic margarita with anejo tequila, grapefruit, tonic and salt. The Bullocks Wilshire, a bourbon and rum cocktail, derives its name from the historic Art Deco L.A. monument on Wilshire Boulevard.
Wine director Ashley Ragovin (Animal, Trois Mec) favors northern Italian wines, including Lambrusco and Barbera, and hints at a Champagne cart that will deliver a selection of bubblies during dining service.
Chef Antonia Lofaso (Black Market) will offer her interpretation of the New York-style Italian fare she grew up eating. Previewed bites included the rice ball, a true-to-its-name orange-sized arancini stuffed with ground beef and peas, and a meatball sub topped with burrata and served on a crusty Rockenwagner roll. Pasta dishes included rigatoni with meat sauce and pasta alla chitarra (noodles cut on a stringed instrument that resembles a guitar) served simply with a Parmesan broth, Pecorino and black pepper.
2905 Washington Blvd., Venice, www.scopaitalianroots.com.
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