Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Osteria Mozza...Mario and Nancy, I'm sorry but I love you

6602 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038
Mon-Sat 5:30PM-12AM

Me writing this post today is an obligation. I know full well about what every person who's gone to Osteria Mozza thinks about the place. You can't read too many reviews online and not know that this place is one of the new big hitters on the scene that is a force to be reckoned with. But, like many foodie types in LA, haven't we all become a little jaded to good food? Mario Batali isn't such a fan of bloggers and it's highly warranted, but can he blame me for loving his and Nancy Silverton's restaurant? Dare I say the word transcendent fell off our lips while dining here more than just once!

Nancy, if by some weird chance you see this I'm sure you spotted the only time my camera went into the air. Of course it would be one of the few times that you weren't creating one of those incredible mozzarella dishes that are truly devastating (for those that don't know who she is, she's the one with curly auburn hair next to the tall guy behind the counter looking quizzically at me) . You were so focused on making these insanely delectable creations, that you never smiled except when you looked up and saw that sweet little girl sitting in front of you. Your smile is hard not to smile back at. Next time we go we'll go and sit at the bar (which like Pizza Mozza is the secret to walking in without a reservation...you have to wait but it's never a bad wait really and they have a killer bar) .

By the way, the waiter with the green tie...you rock man. Thanks for the killer service. On to the food...

Celeste and I wanted to really give ourselves as much of a night out without breaking our bank so we ordered 2 antipasti (one from the mozzarella bar) , shared a primi plate (which many people do so they don't stuff themselves), had individual secondi plates and shared a dolci. What you're looking at above is their Burrata plate made from the Mozzarella bar. Burrata, for the uninformed, is mozzarella with a center that has cream and mozzarella. Theirs came with bacon, marinated escarole and caramelized shallots. Is masterpiece too strong a word for food? This was an elegant piece of work. The creaminess of the cheese with the slightly salty bacon resting on their artisanal bread with the escarole adding to the smooth texture...ahh magnifique! Words can barely contain the perfection within.

We also had the Crispy Pigs Trotter with cicoria and mustard. Like many, I had never had a trotter, nor did I even know what a trotter was. Our green tied waiter was quick to explain the intricasies of this amazing cuisine. Now while I can't tell everyone that this is for them, I can say that it was unlike anything I've ever had. The feet from a pig with some what of a noble bloodline are cut off and cooked at a very low heat for several hours until they are mostly liquified and then they pick out the bones. The is then shaped into croquettes that are deep fried. This to me was one of the transcendent plates I mentioned earlier. I could come back and eat appetizers at the bar...forever.

This is a half plate (remember we split it) of the Orrechiette with sausage and Swiss chard. One of their more popular dishes, and when you taste it it's easy to see why. It's familiar enough and yet the secret blend of earthy spices with those small chunks of sausage (gosh I wish I knew what kind of sausage that was) made this a perfect "breather" course. By the way, when they ask you if you care for the garnish, say yes, it added a certain special quality to the entire texture of the plate.

Beef Brasato with polenta and horseradish gremolata was my main course. They brought me a knife that served no purpose since the meat was so tender you could cut it with a spoon...a dull spoon. It was a very well composed plate with the the polenta in sauce adding a nice soft texture to the "fall apart" beef. The trick that really tied this together was the gremolata (typically added to an ossobuco plate) it added a little bit of sweet spice to each bite...bravo!

Celeste chose the grilled quail wraped in pancetta with radicchio and honey. The first thing that struck her was the overall sweetness to the meat. They did something they didn't write on the menu that infused these two little birds with almost a smokey maple flavor. The exterior had all the savory flavor of the pancetta and the sweetness of honey, and radicchio was a perfect match (she thought it might have even been sauteed in the pan juices). Now, I know many stray away from small bird choices as a result of just enough restaurants leaving too many bones to deal with pleasantly. This was not the case here, the only bones present were the legs and wings.

To finish off the evening we nabbed their Blackberry jam crostata. Basically, a pastry crust layered with tangy blackberry jam with little scoops of vanilla gelato. Simple but really hit the spot.

I can not find a single thing wrong with this place. When you go out for fine dining this should be what it's all about, great food, superb service, and you leave going "that was worth every penny of my hard earned cash". I can say all of that about Osteria Mozza. Parking is valet but there's plenty of street parking if you don't mind looking and taking a very short walk. In the end I just want to say thank you personally Mario and Nancy for giving LA this wonderful place and I hope to see you next time I pop in.

Free Drink Refills: No
Entree Price Range: Antipasti are $10 to $20, Primi are $17 to $19, and Secondi are $26 to $29. Look to spend about an average of a little over $50 per person and yes it's WELL worth it!

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