Uni spaghetti has been a thing for a while, which is hardly surprising, given that a bowl of the stuff is itself a happy mash-up of two other vaguely current trends, namely Italian food and sea urchin. (And if you count Things in a Bowl, I guess you get a trend threesome.) Semantics notwithstanding, an outstanding rendition of this dish can make many of us unreasonably happy, as it did last week at Son of a Gun, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo's seafood counterpart to their more meat-intensive restaurant, Animal.
If you haven't had uni in your pasta, imagine a kind of ocean carbonara sauce, in which sea urchin replaces the raw egg and is emulsified, usually with olive oil, to create something that's about as craveworthy as things get. It is very rich. If done well, it is very, very good.
The uni linguine has been on the menu at Son of a Gun since it opened, on the last day of February 2011, and it would be removed to great sadness, as would the loco moco at Animal. Shook and Dotolo, who are fond of juxtaposition as it applies to both ingredients and culture, have hybridized linguine and clams, and aglio e olio — two classic dishes. Into this, the chefs have spun plenty of uni (mostly from Santa Barbara, but sometimes from San Diego, Mexico or Japan) and woven the results inside a ceramic bowl, not unlike the threads of linguine itself around its magnificent sauce. And yes, you can order this for lunch.
8370 W 3rd St., Los Angeles, (323) 782-9033, sonofagunrestaurant.com.
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