Cacio e pepe is one of the simplest dishes to come out of any Italian kitchen. Made with perfectly al dente pasta—long strands of spaghetti, preferred—pecorino Romano cheese and cracked pepper, there isn’t much more a chef has to do to it. But at Kettle Black, Sydney C. Hunter III tweaks this classic dish by adding a bit of brodo, or chicken stock, which enhances its depth—richer, maybe, and even more delicious in its purity.
In a way, the dish is a metaphor for the lively Silver Lake restaurant. This is definitely another hot spot for a neighborhood bursting at the seams with pretty places full of pretty faces. But like a perfectly prepared cacio e pepe, there’s more to Kettle Black than just a gorgeous room and great food. There’s just that little something that adds a bit more oomph.
It’s most likely the “it” factor brought on by owners Beau Laughlin, Brett Cranston and Jay Milliken, the trio who also recently opened the equally spirited Sawyer right next door. The group has a knack for creating the kind of place people want to be, whether it’s for a first date (both restaurants are magnets for those), a girls’ night out or just locals walking over from their neighboring midcentury-modern homes. Or the likes of Zac Efron, Kate Bosworth and Kristen Wiig—they’ve all been here too.
What’s not to love? The vibrant, happening space is open and convivial, with a nice long bar on one side and counter along the open kitchen toward the back. Anyone without a reservation can sit at both options, which can lead to a choose-your-own-adventure sort of night: From your stool, either watch chefs toss pizza dough and stoke a wood-burning oven, or witness bartending mastery toward the front. There’s even a tucked-away mezzanine with a skylight for quieter conversations.