When I asked my friend if she’d like to join me at the Le Creuset Factory to Table event in Santa Monica several weeks ago, she asked if we could have lunch before coming home. When have I said no to good food? She’d had Forma, an Italian eatery featuring pasta that’s been tossed in a cheese wheel, bookmarked forever, and it was conveniently located right in Santa Monica.
We invite a few LA friends to join us for lunch so we can order more food!
A myriad of appetizers, and one of my favorites is Crispy Artichokes ($16) using mache, fennel, snow peas, walnuts and goat cheese. This salad is tossed in a light dressing, and topped with crispy fried artichokes. The differing textures created a great mouthfeel when you’re able to grab a little of everything on your fork. We all agree it is absolutely delicious.
Another salad is Citrus Avocado Salad ($17) consisting of three types of citrus, arugula, watermelon radish slices, finished with almond slices and crumbled goat cheese. Between the two, I wouldn’t order this again simply because it isn’t anything spectacular.
Grilled Spanish Octopus ($22) is the first thing that catches my eye on the menu, because frankly, I am obsessed with octopus. There are three tentacles serve atop a bed of lentils with harissa as its main flavor profile. While harissa, nor lentils, are typically Italian, the two ingredients do work very well together. The octopus is a little too soft for my taste, but not to the point that it is mushy. Still delicious!
The Chicken Meatballs ($14) are very good, and different, because it is served in a light broth rather than the ubiquitous marinara. The meatballs are tender and flavorful, absolutely solid on their own. I don’t care for the artichokes as it is an unnecessary addition to the dish, but the meatballs are stellar.
Now onto the pastas…
Burnt Spaghetti Asassina ($16) is not what I expected. I’ve had burnt pasta, or grano arso pasta before, however, this left me mind-boggled and slightly confused. My understanding of Puglian-style burnt pasta is that the grano arso pasta is made by first toasting the wheat flour. I did not expect the spaghetti itself to be burnt, and at times, crunchy. Definitely not the burnt pasta I was expecting.
I’m always down for cacio e pepe pasta, and Chitarra Cacio e Pepe ($24) does not disappoint. The homemade spaghetti is tossed with black pepper and extra virgin olive oil, then given a good mix in the pecorino romano wheel. The hot pasta melts the cheese, which then evenly coats the spaghetti. So decadent and unctuous on the palate.
I’m not a huge fan of tortellini, but I was blown away by the mushroom Tortellini ($26) here. A light cream sauce with a hint of truffle oil is tossed in the wheel of Bella Lodi cheese. I’ve never had tortellini that’s so toothsome and perfect in texture. It has definitely changed my mind regarding tortellini.
I noticed almost every table had at least one plate of pasta, and it is not at all surprising. The pasta is absolutely amazing (not including the burnt pasta) and make sure you order the ones that are tossed in one of the many cheese wheels at the back of the restaurant. You won’t regret it.
1610 Montana Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90403