Everywhere Chef Jason Neroni of Best Bet Eats on His Day Off
Three million pizza lovers can’t be wrong — so follow him to Kato, Eggslut and more
Jason Neroni is a busy man. With 375 covers at The Rose, the always-bustling, indoor-outdoor haven in the middle of Venice, and his just-launched pizza spot, Best Bet, this chef is not someone with a lot of free time. These days, he’s balancing picking up and dropping off his kids from school with developing recipes at his new restaurant. Testing ideas for Best Bet at the decade-old The Rose has proven to be a solid way to get feedback — and to give the neighborhood a teaser of the pies he’s firing up at the new joint.
“We have a Sicilian focaccia at The Rose right now that’s brushed with black truffle butter, served with honey-roasted hachiya persimmons, and topped with Buffalo mozzarella,” Neroni tells InsideHook. “And that was kind of a lead-in to Best Bet in some respects, because we’re using that dough for one of the pizzettes.”
Neroni understands how one project can fuel another — he owns another pizza restaurant, B-Side Pizza, in New York. “We’ve been open for almost seven and a half years, and served over three million people,” he says. “At this point, I feel comfortable stepping away to work on something like Best Bet. The ability to focus on pizza, and a smaller restaurant that’s 100 to 110 seats, is a passion project. I love pizza — and there’s a personal side to Best Bet, because my wife designed it, and it’s going back to our ‘roots’ a little bit. Best Bet will be a slower, and a little bit more elevated experience.”
Opening imminently, Best Bet serves multiple kinds of pizza, with a blend of Neapolitan and New York styles, like the Reverse Spumoni, a focaccia crust with mortadella, cherries, pistachio, buffalo ricotta and cherry agrodolce, the final version of the proto-pie Neroni mentions above. Another early menu standout is a fried Montanara-style crust piled with taleggio fonduta, arugula pesto and crunchy olives.
Tables at Best Bet will be going fast, but in the meantime, here’s a few of Neroni’s foodie picks for the days when he’s not actually working at one of his restaurants. Those are few and far between, which means that his preferred dining options are usually found close to home, somewhere on the westside of LA, and a lot of his own food outings are a chance for him to spend time with his family.
Coffee: United States Of Espresso
“Selling myself here, but the cold brew at The Rose is one of my favorites. We like this place, United States Of Espresso, though. It was a truck, and now they moved into a brick-and-mortar over on Abbot Kinney. I’m a cold brew guy. That’s the only thing I drink with almond milk and a splash of simple syrup, no dairy.”
Breakfast: Tasty Noodle House or Eggslut
“If I had to say a guilty pleasure, it would be Eggslut on Windward. I’m a classic New York guy — I just like the bacon, egg and cheese, and I love those little truffle-y, amped-up McDonalds-style hash browns that he does.”
“For brunch, my family and I like to go to Tasty Noodle House on Sawtelle, which is a Shanghai-inspired place. We get dumplings and noodles; we’re big aficionados for dim sum. Living on the westside makes it very difficult to get out to, like, the San Gabriel Valley, and there’s not a lot of options on the westside when it comes to dim sum. But Tasty Noodle House’s pan-fried dumplings — we buy those by the bag frozen and will cook them up anytime. Like, I did those for my Christmas parties.”
Lunch: Cha Cha Chicken
“Cha Cha Chicken is so good. It’s Caribbean food, they have the coconut fried chicken, and the fried platanos [plantains]. Those are all really good. I’m a third Puerto Rican — I know I don’t look it — but I grew up eating a lot of that, and you don’t find a lot of it in Los Angeles. We’ll go down there, take the dog, and then take a walk on the beach after. It’s a perfect afternoon.”
Snack: La Isla Bonita Taco Truck
“We get al pastor tacos usually, or I like their ceviche. That with a horchata.”
“I really like Jon [Yao’s] cooking over at Kato — I think that’s unique to Los Angeles, and you don’t see a lot of people really focusing on Tawainese like that. He changes the menu all the time, so it would be difficult to say a specific dish. Honestly I’d say just put yourself in his hands.”
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