As we grow older together, we learn to enjoy each other's favorite food. For example, this butternut squash mezzelune. I would never order mezzelune (half moon shaped ravioli) or butternut squash anything, if I weren't married to gourds loving marcdyen. I would've ordered some seafood pasta and be happy. But I'm glad the birthday boy picked all his fav dishes to create our own 6 course pasta tasting course. This was heavenly! There're amaretti dusts on top. () ?
Not very photogenic, but tasty and deal of a meal Osteria Mozza: $35 for 3-courses from mozzarella, pasta and dessert menus. Loved the burrata with speck & English peas especially. Glad katie_dough had the spur of the moment idea for Improv night! (Too bad we missed Beyonc and Jay Z alleged appearance at Pizzeria next door )
osteria mozza / los angeles
After we spend the day in Catalina, we made our way towards Hollywood to check in to our seedy motel (at least the parking was free…) and then off we went to meet Alyssa for dinner at Osteria Mozza. Osteria Mozza is like the fine dining version of Pizzeria Mozza, owned by the same group of people: Nancy Silverton, Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich. My particular interest in Osteria Mozza was that I heard they have a Mozzarella Bar and all of the cheeses (among other things) are hand crafted in house. My great love of cheese came into play here as that’s what I really wanted to eat!
The thing about fine dining fancy pants places is that their food is usually crazy good (you hope) but their lighting completely blows. It’s for the atmosphere and all that jazz but man, it makes a food blogger’s life difficult.
This is the amuse bouche that we started off with: a crostini with fresh ricotta and a daub of some kind of tapenade. I removed the tapenade from my crostini so I could fully enjoy the cheese without evil olives getting in my way. The ricotta was so creamy and fresh!
We were also presented with baskets of bread to choose what kind of bread we wanted. The restaurant was busy that evening and we all couldn’t quite hear the bread dude and we all asked for White Bread when he didn’t have anymore. Oops. I think he gave me the last piece of white bread that was kind of small along with a multi grain bread.
We were also given some olive oil for dipping our bread into. The bread wasn’t super amazing. Maybe if it had been warm I would have liked it a bit more.
[smoked bufalo mozzarella with prosciutto di parma / $19]
Jake and I shared two cheeses. They also have a cheese tasting which nets you three different cheeses to try but it didn’t have the ones I particularly wanted so we just got two. The smoked mozzarella was divine. It had a lovely, light smoky flavor that infused through all of the cheese and the thin prosciutto just melted along with it. I ate it with a little of my leftover bread and it was a happy combination.
[burricotta with radicchio, spiced walnuts, honey & fried rosemary on an oat biscuit / $16]
Be still, my heart. Burricotta. I had never heard of this before but I read about it before our visit. Burricotta is made the same way that Burrata is – the outer layer, or “shell” is the mozzarella and the inside has something else. In burrata’s case it’s this crazy creamy mozzarella made with cream but in burricotta it’s filled with freshly made ricotta cheese. Oh. My. Goodness.
This is paired with radicchio (which, actually, I didn’t like at all – way too bitter for me) crunchy spicy glazed walnuts (yum), bits of honeycomb (extra yum), fried rosemary and a delicious little oat biscuit on the bottom. I simply adored this dish. Jake kind of left me to it since I digged this more than the smoked mozzarella (which was good, of course, but ricotta has a special place in my heart).
[grilled octopus / $22]
Alyssa, who is not as enamored with cheese as I am, choose the grilled octopus for her starting course. I know I had a bite but seriously don’t remember it. I can only think of the cheese. <3
[calf’s brain ravioli / $20]
Alyssa is also a bit more adventurous in her eating. She decided to get the Calf’s Brain Ravioli for her pasta dish. She was debating between this and something else but in the end I told her she should try this since she’d never had calf’s brain before (kind of a weird thing to say, huh).
She gave Jake and I each one ravioli to try and I didn’t think about it really and just popped the sucker into my mouth. It was actually quite pleasant. There wasn’t a weird chew or anything like that (which I was kind of afraid of). Instead it just tasted like a really light Italian sausage. Almost creamy. The sauce was also delicious. Now I can check that one off my bucket list (not that it was on there in the first place).
[orecchiette with sausage & swiss chard / $20]
A thing to note about the pasta dishes here: they’re all small plates, not really full sized entree meals. Jake and I each got a plate this size. I don’t know if they split it, or gave us each our own plate actually. I liked the pasta itself but I found that the sauce and the sausage/swiss chard to be a little too robust and spicy for me. The pasta itself was done perfectly al dente with a lovely chew. I just didn’t quite love the mix of the sausage and swiss chard. It felt much heavier to me than the other things we had tried.
[ricotta & egg raviolo with browned butter / $20]
Okay, okay, okay, okay. This. THIS. It is heaven on a plate. It is a raviolo (because it is one giant sized ravioli) that sits on a plate full of brown butter sauce.
The aroma of the brown butter wafts into your nose as you take your knife and gently slice it open… then the egg inside spills out and surrounds itself in that butter with the perfectly creamy ricotta. You take one bite and it simply melts into your mouth, bursting with flavor and tenderness. This dish is worth the price of admission alone. It is seriously that good. I made it so this was my very last bite of savory pasta food so it would linger in my mouth for awhile. Om nom nom nom.
[grilled quail wrapped in p ancetta with honey & sage / $26]
Jake and I skipped on entrees. Jake was giving me that “OH GOD it costs so much” look so I spared him and didn’t order an entree. Alyssa can eat me under the table any day of the week and plowed ahead with her entree, the grilled quail. She gave me a bite and it mostly just tasted like a tender piece of chicken to me. What do I know about quail? Very little.
[bombolini with huckleberry marmellata and lemon mascarpone / $12]
We didn’t know what a bombolini was until Alyssa Googled it and found out it’s an Italian filled doughnut and she decided that was the dessert for her. I remember that I really liked the lemon mascarpone that it came with more than anything else on her dessert dish.
[pumpkin and date torta with bourbon gelato and walnut biscotti / $11]
I went for the Pumpkin and Date torte. There was one date sitting on top of the torte in all it’s glory with the creamy pumpkin below it. It had a very light pumpkin flavor. I really liked it. The biscotti was just kind of meh, it tasted a lot like the oat biscuits we had with the ricotta. The bourbon gelato had a really distinct whiskey flavor to it that made me think Stacey would have loved it. I thought it was alright, the pumpkin & date torte was really the best thing on the dish though. The other items didn’t really feel like they went with the torte in my opinion.
All in all a really awesome birthday dinner! Osteria Mozza isn’t really a “come here often” kind of place for us, but I’d love to go again sometime and try more CHEESE! Thanks to my best good friend Alyssa for joining us for dinner AND to treating us. I love her.
Osteria mozza. Yes it’s a cliche, but it’s why we have them.
The beginning of my birthday weekend began with what I picture heaven will be like…7 courses of pasta paired with wine.
Since I was celebrating getting older, my fiancé and I dined like senior citizens at 5:45pm at the always hard to book Osteria Mozza on Melrose.
The Mario Batali and Joseph Bastianich restaurant has been a staple of the LA Italian food scene since it opened In 2007, and 5 years later it is still just as popular.
We began the meal with a burrata flown in that morning from Puglia, and only available on Thursdays and Fridays. It was served over caramelized leeks and complemented nicely with toasted bread bathed in olive oil.
The pasta tasting kicked off with a fresh farfalle and Fava beans, paired with a a white wine that had a hint of fungus (the waiter’s words…not mine…it means earthy)
Due to the fact that every bite I took was paired with alcohol, the details of the meal start to become little hazy-so I will only share the most memorable moments.
My favorite pasta course was the pici with wild boar ragu paired with a Barolo. Each thick noodle was rolled by hand, and the meat melted into the pasta like it was puréed.
The last two courses of the tasting were desert, and although it seems excessive, I do not think one would have been as good without the other.
The first desert course was a hibiscus flower gelatina with lime sorbet paired with the best desert wine my fiancé and I have ever tasted, a bigaro elio perrone. This is absolutely the reason food and wine are paired together, because the combination literally created a flavor explosion in my mouth!
Not to be outdone by the first course, the second desert of olive oil cakes and gelato grounded the entire meal and balanced out the sweetness of the lime and hibiscus. It was paired with a much stronger desert wine, a vin santo, and if you’re not fully sauced at this point then I can only suggest drinking lighter fluid.
The reason you go to Mozza is to have an experience and not just a meal.
You go for the service from 10 staff members at once and for the wine that is not available to anyone but Mario Batali. Lastly, you go to Mozza because everyone goes to Mozza…and what would a cliche be without followers.
You've got your olive ice cream crumble with rosemary brittle. Mario Batali's and Joe Bastianich's Osteria in LA. Superb food and service! food
One of the best dishes I've had... Fig wrapped in panchetta and parmesan. The taste when chewed is like Angus beef burgers. Exploding flavors. Weird but puts a smile in my face everytime I put some in my mouth. Amazeballs. blog
Osteria Mozza - Sweet Prix Fixe Menu at Amaro Bar
Nancy Silverton (La Brea Bakery), Mario Batali (eponymous culinary empire) and Joe Bastianich join forces to grace Los Angeles with two 'famous neighborhood gems' that sit side by side on the corner of Melrose and Highland. Pizzeria Mozza serves incredible gourmet pizzas (with creative combinations of toppings and the most amazing crust I've ever tasted) in a casual, intimate setting, while Osteria Mozza offers more committed (and wealthier) diners a unique, more upscale concept restaurant anchored by two bars (mozzarella / 'Amaro') and a dining area serving gourmet Italian/Mediterrenean dishes in a cozy space that feels like it's the most sophisticated restaurant in a sleep East Coast town where everyone who comes in knows each other.
Pizzeria Mozza is hands-down my favorite place for pizza in the city - but in this post I'd like to talk about my night with its more upscale sibling - a Sunday evening adventure with the prix fixe menu at Osteria Mozza's Amaro bar.
Every Sunday through Thursday Osteria Mozza offers a special three-course menu, available only at their Amaro Bar. You have to sit at the counter and can then choose: one item from Nancy's Mozzarella Bar (or share the Mozzarella Tasting for two), one Pasta, a Dessert and a glass of either Bastianich Friulano or La Mozza Morellino di Scansano - all for the amazing price of $35 (tax and service extra). They don't take reservations for these seatings - it's first come first served, so get there early if you want to take advantage of this menu! We arrived just before opening (5pm) on a Sunday - love free street parking! - and there was already a small crowd waiting eagerly by the entrance.
After the excited diners politely piled in, we were happy to take the last two seats at the bar - which worked out really well, as we were right next to the service counter and were treated to lots of wine and champagne tips by the exceptionally friendly servers (one even asked my friend to help 'sample' the champagne when he popped open a brand new magnum, to make sure it was up to par!).
The only minor 'not so positive' thing about sitting at the Amaro bar, is that you sit facing the wall of wines, turned away from the nice ambience in the dining room, and from all the action in Nancy's Mozzarella Bar, where you can often see Nancy working the exquisite cheese dishes herself!
With the seating arrangements all sorted, we all but devoured the menu with ravenous eyes. The prix fixe menu allows you to choose one item from the full list of Mozzarella Bar options - the print alone made us salivate on sight. There were no less than 14 different configurations of cheeses (Bufala, Burricota, Stracciatella, Burrata) with intriguing accompaniments from braised artichokes to spiced walnuts to fried rosemary. We considered the task of selecting just one from among the incredible options an exercise in cruelty - though, when ultimately confronted by the sad reality that the size of our appetite was inversely proportional to the size of the contents of our wallets, we finally decided on the two dishes below.
Starters from Mozzarella Bar menu: Burrata with leeks, vinaigrette and mustard breadcrumbs ($14)I had the burrata (incredibly silky smooth, creamy, and soft - melts away on contact in your mouth!), topped with crunchy mustard flavored breadcrumbs, served on a thin strip of leeks sprinkled with pepper and marinated in a vinaigrette - a divine combination of perfectly contrasting textures and harmonious tastes!
Burrata with bacon, marinated escarole and carmelized shallots ($15) Updated photo Feb 2011
My Foodie Mentor, who has had my dish on a previous visit, ordered burrata (slightly firmer and more chewy than the one in my dish) topped by carmelized shallots, which sat atop salty bacon strips, cushioned by marinated escarole, which topped a round of toast. Again, a sophisticated layering of contrasting textures held together by a perfectly balanced blend of flavors.
First courses from Pasta menu:
Squid ink spaghetti with Dungeness Crab, uni and jalapeno ($19?)
Being adventurous in no other area of my life, I am invariably drawn - when it comes to food only - to the exotic or unusual. So for my first course, I had no choice but to order the squid ink spaghetti, which was served cold and punctuated by thick and fluffy chunks of Dungeness crab, topped by a sliver of fresh uni, and mixed in a jalapeno broth. A surprising find on an otherwise authentic (and all mouthwatering) Italian menu!
Tagliatelle Verde with lamb ragu, olive Taggiasche and mint ($19)
Foodie Mentor opted for something which was in comparisan a little more traditional - the tagliatelle verde with lamb ragu - but with a refreshing surprise ingredient added - mint! The dish was fantastic - with extremely tender and flavorful lamb mixed in with the perfectly cooked tagliatelle pasta.
Torta della Nonna with honeycomb and pine nuts ($11)
Dessert for me is usually the best part of the meal, but it would be hard to top my previous two courses! At first I was unsure about the Torta della Nonna 'cheesecake' - that seemed to me a little plain and unimaginative - but after the first bite, I see the light. This is not the dense clunker of a dessert you would expect from its English name - but turned out to be incredibly light and airy, with a perfectly crumbly crust, and a crunchy, flaky top layer sprinkled with toasted pine nuts. The only thing that made the experience even better was dipping pieces of fluffy cake into the small pool of light, amber-colored honey on the side. I wasn't as into the honeycomb side, which was a sticky dense glob which didn't add fit with the lightness of the rest of the dish, and didn't provide a complementary contrast either.
Rosemary Olive Oil Cakes with olive oil gelato and rosemary brittle ($11)
Foodie Mentor had the rosemary olive oil cakes (in the shape of mini-muffins and consistency reminiscent of donuts) plated with a scoop of olive oil gelato, topped by a flip of spun sugar that encased a sprinkle of needles of rosemary. I thought the taste was a little too subtle for me - but did appreciate the sophistication behind a dessert that wasn't 'whack-a-mole' style over the top sugary.
All-in-all, an amazing meal at an incredible price - definitely need to come back again the next chance I get!
Update Feb 2011:
Some more photos from another amazing visit to Osteria Mozza - still in my opinion the best deal in town for foodies with its very filling 3-course meal + glass of wine for $35! I will forever assess the value of every other meal in 'units of Mozza'!!!
Amuse bouche - ricotta cheese on toast topped by
marinated olives & basil
Maltagliati with wild boar ragu ($18 on regular menu)
Bombolini mountain huckleberry marmellata
& vanilla gelato ($12 on regular menu)
Update Summer 2011: The prix fixe at Amaro Bar is now $42 per person.
On a 7 point scale:
Flavor - 7 bites
Presentation - 6 bites
Originality - 5 bites
Ambience - 6 stars
Service - 6 stars
Overall experience - 6.5 bites
Price - $$ (2 bite marks - great deal)
Probability of return visit - 100%
6602 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90038
Osteria Mozza is an Italian restaurant located in the Hancock Park area of Los Angeles, California. Please note this restaurant is only open for dinner.
Reviewers strongly suggest starting off with the burrata and caviar appetizer. The burrata is flown in from Italy and the two flavors meld delightfully in this dish. For entrees, the grilled octopus is popular, as well as the squid ink pasta.
Reviewers describe the ambiance of the restaurant as relaxed upscale. It is nice enough for a date or intimate occasion, but not stuffy. The lighting is dim and there is ample seating. Going with a group is recommended because the food is served family style and you can order dishes to share.
The service here is regarded as top notch. Reviewers say the staff is friendly and always seem to be there when they are needed. They are experienced and knowledgeable about the menu as well.