Monday, February 25, 2008

Osteria Mozza

I’d been dreaming of going to Los Angeles and visiting Osteria Mozza ever since I ate at its next door sibling, Pizzeria Mozza last winter. There were months of delay before Osteria Mozza finally opened its doors but it’s been up and running for six months now and the front of the house and the kitchen have really hit their stride. Both Mozza restaurants were full to overflowing with an eager crowd on the Saturday night I went, so when you go there be prepared. There was even a wait for a seat at the bar.

I went with Sue Moore, one of the most discriminating eaters I know (see my earlier blog on Sue’s grass fed hot dog stand, Let’s Be Frank). She had promised me that the proprietor, Nancy Silverton, would be behind the mozzarella bar, and there she was, as she is most nights.

We started with a platter of salumi that included a delicious salami with cardamom and a luscious lardo with a wonderful woody thyme finish. We moved on to a Little Gem salad with hazelnuts, bacon, gorgonzola dolce and egg. All the ingredients were perfectly married together, and though the dressing may have been a bit too acidic, it was otherwise wonderful. From the mozzarella bar we chose the mozzarella in carozza with anchovy and tomato vinaigrette. It sounded odd but what a great combo. The sweet milky warm cheese with the sauce was divine and the finish of anchovy on the palate was wonderful. We then had the spaghetti alla’ gricia which is one of my favorite Roman pastas. The guanciale ( a particularly great Italian bacon and a favorite of mine which you will know if you’ve been reading my blog) in the sauce was delicious with a bite of pecorino romano cheese and a bit of pepperocini. At first the spaghetti seemed a little too al dente but it kept cooking and by the second bite it was perfect.

As for the wine, the 2005 “Sapaio”, Podere Sapaio went amazingly well with the meal. At $95.00 a bottle it is a great value.

Sue and I had also ordered the crisp duck al mattone with pear mostarda, but we were so full we had to cancel the order much to my regret. Our waiter accepted the cancellation without any attitude which was a relief. The cheese list was amazing but we were too full and wanted to try at least one dessert. We chose the rosemary olive oil cake with olive oil gelato, a Mario Batali signature dish. I hate to say this, but I’m going to anyway: it took the cake.

“Rustic funkiness with perfect ingredients” is how Sue described the food. My description is as follows: I can’t wait to go back.

Osteria Mozza
6602 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, Ca 90038


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