Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Mozzarella Bar at Osteria Mozza
We arrived at Osteria Mozza shortly after 5:00 last Saturday and we were the first in line, waiting to rush the mozzarella bar (with Nancy Silverton at the helm) at their 5:30 opening. This is what you have to resort to if you do not have a reservation. If you have one, it means you made it one month in advance for a 9:30 Tuesday night slot (like we did), with no chance of being seating early (like we found out at 8:30). No reservations is the way to go. When the doors opened, I made a beeline straight for the mozzarella bar, only to find the hostess very expertly take a side step to her left and block my path with a perky, "2 for the mozzarella bar?" Yes. She seating us at the bar, and the fun began.
A couple months ago when I dined at a table, the waiter insisted we place our order for all the courses at once, so he can set the pace (which we hate to do - we like to set the pace; nice and slow). At the bar the service was much looser. We ordered one dish at a time, at our own pace. When I asked the difference between two kinds of wine, the server replied with the best answer, " let's try them!" Yes, lets. Served in my favorite size portion; the quartino. We were given an amuse bouche of a mozzarella spiral with olives, pesto and tomatoes. A perfect little fatty and salty treat to stir up one's appetite. Our first dish was the crostini with burracotta cheese, mint pesto, artichoke hearts, topped with pine nuts and currants (I believe you may find the recipe in Nancy's sandwich book). This was my favorite dish. Not too big, just the right combination of sweet and savory.
We moved on to the burrata from Basilicata. This burrata arrives from Italy every Thursday, and our waiter said they serve it through Saturday. It had just the slightest hint of sourness that burrata has after a few days, but it was still enjoyable. She served it with some leeks, and a couple of slices of thick bread, toasted and drenched in olive oil.
Remember: when I say things like "fatty, salty, drenched in olive oil," these are all words of praise. At this point we were a bit cheesed-out, so we moved on to grilled figs wrapped in procuitto. Once again, another fantastic combination of the good ol' sweet and salty. We looked at the dessert menu just for fun, but had to pass after all this cheese and bread. This is the way to dine at the Mozza's: arrive early, grab a seat at the bar, and enjoy.
6602 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA