Clusi CatI know in general, it’s a pizzeria.  It’s not fancy-pants Italian food. The location is very casual, and in the middle of a stretch of Japanese noodle houses, boba shops, and soup dumpling places.  But honestly, I have had some of the best, and most honest, good-old-fashioned eating experiences here at Clusi Batusi.  Chef

The chef/ owner, Michele Gargani is one of my favorite inspirations.  Young, full of energy.  Enthusiastic for feeding people well. Somebody asked me recently what my best meal of 2013 had been, and I couldn’t think of anything other than Michele’s pork bollito misto (with freshly grated horseradish)… paired with, (naturally) Vitovska!Carne

Pork Bollito Misto.

I love Michele’s food because it is clearly prepared with a lot of love.  I had a pork chop the other day that nearly ruined me for all other pork chops.  It wasn’t anything fancy or rarefied or super expensive.  It was just a quality ingredient, prepared and seasoned perfectly.  So simple.  So infinitely satisfying.



Another perfect dish.  Crab and potato fritatta with a poached egg and fresh Marjoram.  Again- perfect raw materials, simple and flawless execution.  This kind of cooking makes me swoon.

BacalaBaccala on toast.  One word:  Ethereal.  Yes really- even in the form of whipped salt cod.  How does Chef Michele do it?  I think he just loves food, and he loves feeding people.  Los Angeles is a better place for it, too.Benji and Michele

Benjamin Zidarich and Michele Gargani discuss Carso wines.