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.

Osteria Mozza
6602 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA
323-297-0100

10 comments:

H. C. said...

Sounds like Pizzeria Mozza (best way is to sneak in early w/o reservations) -- the food looks great & I love the bartend. Wish more wine service would let you have a taste before you commit to a glass or a bottle.

Anonymous said...

Pity that you ordered two "similar" dishes - burrata, vegetables, and bread - and got "cheesed out". I agree that both are delicious, but you'd have enjoyed sharing a pasta like the orrechiette with sausage. And the plum cornette desert is totally yummy - a classic Silverton treat.

hadashi said...

thanks for the tip! i've found the same is true for A.O.C. -- best way to dine there is no reservations, arrive early-ish, and go sit at the friendly cheese bar in back.

Don Hudson said...

I want everyone to read your reviews! I hope you get to eat at Josie's on Pico Blvd soon. I thought the food was excellent.

Zen Chef said...

This looks delicious!
I wanna move to LA now hehe

Anonymous said...

Delicious, yes, but the table service was HORRIBLE. We thought, OK, first time and we were unlucky to get a bad waiter. On our second visit we got a different waiter, and AGAIN had HORRIBLE service. Absent-minded, messy, and too much time between courses. Also, I don't recommend the entrees, which are over-priced and nothing special. If it weren't for the delicious antipasti and mozzarella bar, I wouldn't return.

badkat68 said...

The service at Osteria Mozza is FANTASTIC. Any of you 'tards here who complain about having bad service there ... good chances are it's more about you and less about the service. I've dined there 3 times now ... twice in the dining room, and once at the mozz bar ... and also happen to know alot about the place. The servers there had EXTENSIVE traning... almost like a 2 week boot camp. 'Yes' ... sometimes the meal can feel a little lenghthy ... (15-20 mins between courses, etc.)... big deal! ...'hell' ... you're there to DINE! Have great wine with friends, talk, etc. Every time I've gone... my servers have known the menu, ingredients, backwards and forwards, ... have had elegant presence... if they couldn't answer all specfiic wine questions... (and there are more than 250 ALL Italian wines on the list) ... any of the somelliers there were awsome. Not snooty at all. The formalities of re-silvering and napkin folding was done like precision... AND ... as some of you know... the menu doesn't have alot of explanations on it ... so... it's automatically required for the servers there to be verbal and communicative... which mine always have been ... and graciously so ...offering me great food selections/suggestions and wine parings.

I question the state alot of you are in when going in ... as well as the crummy, boring dinner companions you might have during your meal... that's putting you in such a foul state... you couldn't possibly enjoy and/or appreciate anything great in front of you... as well as mistaking pace and leisure (something not seen in LA often) for 'bad service'. Start evaluating yourselves as customers!!

Anonymous said...

it's Nancy Silverton

badkat68 said...

Anonymous ... what do you mean ... 'its Nancy Silverton'???

Anonymous said...

badkat68 - are you a mozza investor, a mozza waiter, or just related to an investor or waiter? Your reaction to someone else's legitimate criticism taints your entire comment. Personally, I've had decent table service at the Osteria, good service, and also lackluster service. By and large, I enjoy the place, but I can certainly imagine someone having a bad experience there.