More cheese, please, at Osteria Mozza
January 24, 2011
LOS ANGELES, USA – It sounds like the start to some corny joke: “This mozzarella walks into a bar…”. But at Osteria Mozza — Mario Batali and Nancy Silverton’s absurdly delicious Italian eatery — the Mozzarella Bar is a smooth, creamy dream come true. It’s a green marble stool-top scene where you can sample fresh, authentic varietals from sheep’s milk ricotta to burrata, bufala, and fior di latte topped with such inventive accents such as speck, peas, and mint or hazelnuts, lemon, and garlic.
While the bar is a delightful focal point to this handsome dining room, it’s merely a warm-up to a full scale power dining scene. Big cheeses in the business and film industry dominate the tables, making a reservation here as sought after as a Golden Globe (bookings can be made 30 days in advance). Note that spots at the Mozzarella Bar are first come, first served. The décor is fittingly Old Boys’ Club, all dark woods, rich leathers, and ornate detailing.
If you’re lucky enough to snag a seat, make sure you’re not counting your carbs. Aside from the mozzarella antipasti, the restaurant is best known for its pasta tasting menu ($69 per person with wine pairings and dessert). The tasting menu requires participation of the entire table. Selections might be as simple as farfalle with chanterelles or as adventurous as calf’s brain ravioli with sage and lemon.
The a la carte menu comes fully loaded with fresh pastas, roasted meats, and tempting desserts. Despite busy enterprises like New York’s Babbo and LA’s La Brea Bakery, Batali and Silverton certainly don’t rest on their laurels — this is some of the most delish Italian fare I’ve had in a long time. I can’t stop dreaming about gorgeous pastas like the ricotta and egg ravioli and the orecchiette with sausage and swiss chard. Please, please save room for dessert when you come here (which is actually easier than you may think, since portion sizes can tend toward the puny). The honeyed Torta della Nonna was delicious and we heard that the molten chocolate cake with bourbon gelato is a popular choice too. The deserts are like sweet, double-cheeked goodbye kisses, Italian-style!
The upscale casual vibe matches these polished eats, so arrive clothing to match. But if you’d rather enjoy Batali and Silverton’s grub in something you don’t mind spilling tomato sauce on, you might want to opt for the more casual next-door sister restaurant Pizzeria Mozza or even order takeout from the adjoining Mozza2Go. No matter how you get at this food, once you’ve had one taste, you’ll want lotsa Mozza. Say cheese!
RL contributed to this post.
Read more about Osteria Mozza on The Purple Passport