Last night with my wife I tried Osteria Mozza. A collaboration between Mario Batali, Nancy Silverton, and Joseph Bastianach. The executive chef is Matt Molina.
I have been to Mario Batali’s restaurant Babbo in New York and was very curious to see if he could bring the same type of quality of food and service here to Los Angeles.
I want to give you a blow by blow to try to convey my experience.
The evening started at 6pm and we were invited to try a glass of Proseco Sorelle. This is an Italian sparkling wine, which was light and the perfect way to cleanse the palate, and to kickoff a wonderful evening of fine dining.
Our waitress explained to us how the menu works. People usually start with a couple of dishes from the Antipasti course that is shared family style.
Followed by a dish from the Primi course that is usually shared.
Then each person gets a dish from the Secondi course.
You don’t have to do this, no pressure, but it is recommended.
We appreciated the advice and made our selections.
We were then asked if we would be interested in speaking to the Sommelier about selecting a wine to accompany our meal. We said yes please and minutes later the sommelier appeared.
Selecting wine can be a very humbling experience especially when dealing with a Sommelier. This was a great experience. The Sommelier asked all the right questions on gauging our taste in wine. He knew what we ordered to make thoughtful wine pairing suggestions. He also asked us how we looked on time. We explained that we had an hour and half before we had to dash to catch a musical up the street. This was communicated to the wait staff and the experience began.
We were first greeted with a bite of a mozzarella that was made in house. A thin layer of mozzarella spread over with a vegetable pesto and then rolled and sliced. Olive oil is then drizzled over and served on a small plate. The cheese was very light and creamy and was a great way to break the ice on what to expect from Chef Molina.
For the Antipasti course we ordered:
Crispy Pigs Trotter with cicoria and mustard. The meat from the pig trotter is flattened into a patty and lightly fried. It is paired with a chicory salad with a sweet vinaigrette.
Little Lettuce Gems. 5 different types of lettuce with sliced hard boiled eggs, fried pancetta and a delicious vinaigrette. This salad was so simple and just delicious. It goes to show how incredibly fresh ingredients can make such a difference in such a simple salad.
From the Mozzarella bar we ordered Burrata from Basilicata served with braised leeks, celery, scallions and herb salad.
With the first course we drank a Vino Rosato- Cerasuolo, Cataldi Madonna Montepulciano Abruzzo 2005. It was a light wine that didn’t over power the dishes but added to the flavors.
For the Primi course we ordered Spaghetti with clams, pancetta & spicy Fresno chile pesto.
Now I didn’t want to order this dish. I really wanted to try something I’ve never had before, but we wanted to see how they did a classic Italian dish. It’s just like ordering a chicken breast from a restaurant. A good restaurant will find a way to exceed your expectations with a simple genuine ingredient. The clams were incredibly fresh and absolutely gave you the taste of the sea. The pasta was al dente and the pesto has the right amount of kick to not blow you out of the water but put the little smile on your face that is followed by that nod of satisfaction.
With this course we drank Dolcetto d’La Martinera Rocche di Manzoni. This was a sweet wine from the Northern part of Italy that went great with this little spicy dish.
For our Secondi we had Grilled Whole Orata wrapped in fig leaf with olio nuovo and Beef Brasato with polenta and a horseradish gremolata.
The Orata was served tableside by the waitress. She separated the head and opened up the fish. She then drizzled it with olive oil and sprinkled it with sea salt. The fish was incredibly tender and flakey with a hint of smokiness from the fig leaf. What was most important to me was that I could taste the delicate flavor of the fish. There was a respect for the ingredient and they allowed it to speak for itself.
The Beef Brasato was decadent. Fork tender beef that melted in your mouth. When you braise meat you get that strong beef flavor that can dominate the dish. You need that little kick of the horseradish gremolata to keep it from being one-dimensional. And then following it up with a creamy polenta that was so simple and delicious. It was a great marriage of flavors all the way around.
The thoughtfulness continued during this course. Before serving the dishes our waitress asked us if we still wanted our third selection of wine. We said yes and had the Chianti Classico Riserva. Â A delicious Chianti that complimented both dishes and added to their flavors without overpowering.
For the Dolci course we ordered Bombolini with lemon mascarpone, and raspberry sorbetto.
The best way to describe this dish is crispy little fried donuts with a light center. It is served with a tart mascarpone and sweet raspberry sorbetto. A delicious little desert.
We were taken care of in every way this evening. I felt like a guest in someone’s home where every detail is thought out and executed to make your stay as memorable as possible. The wait staff did an incredible job of pacing the meal to not make us feel rushed. The Sommelier made superb selections of wine. And Chef Molina and his kitchen staff prepared delicious dishes. I really could not find anything to complain about only to praise them for covering all the bases and beating my expectations. Osteria Mozza has set the bar in Los Angeles as being the best restaurant. I look forward to seeing other restaurants catching up to the new standard.