I'm sorta embarrassed to admit it, but seems that I have a Mario Batali obsession. But let me preface this entry by saying that we weren't even supposed to go to Mozza- we had reservations at Campanile, but my flight got in too late so we had to cancel. Sara said they were being buttholes about canceling- we're not down with that.
So in the past 6 months, I've been to Lupa, Babbo, and I made it to his newest LA haunt, Osteria Mozza with Sara last week. It was, I have to say, a very good meal. I would put Mozza between Lupa and Babbo-- it's more casual than Babbo, in both the atmosphere and the food, and I'm keeping Babbo at the top since it's the original (need to respect that). That said, we had a well-rounded, well-proportioned meal, and excellent martinis.
Amuse-bouche on the house: ricotta and tapenade bruchetta with slivers of basil. The ricotta was delish.
Had no fucking clue this was going to be a bruschetta, as the mozzarella menu (yes, they have a mozzarella bar!) just said "burrata, bacon and escarole". They conveniently left out "on bread", which made this a bit heavy. And the burrata was so creamy and mouthmelting that all the other stuff was a bit excessive. But that's carmelized onions on top- can't say no to that.
Dish of the night: Grilled octopus with chives and potatoes. The octopus... so soft... no chewing involved! And the char from the grill- so perfect! And the potats... it all went together so well.
Presentation wise, the dish kinda looks like the sweetbreads I had at Babbo, doesn't it?
Here it is deconstructed:
Francobolli di Brasato: stamp-shaped ravioli filled with braised beef and thyme. This was absolutely delicious- the beef was super tender, almost mushy (in a good way), and the sauce was soupy, almost gelatinous, like bone marrow almost.
Sara got the mezzaluna ravioli filled with pumpkin. The pic was too bad so I won't post it, but it was so sweet with its hints of cinnamon and spices.
Interior shots: high ceilings, classic fixtures, a long bar for eating and drinking:
One side of the dining room, with walls filled with wine.
The restaurant is on a pretty busy intersection on Melrose, so the windows overlook a gas station and a shopping center across the street. No romance here. Sorta wished they frosted the windows, but I guess they're just keeping it real.
I think that Mozza is a nice addition to the LA food scene, in that they've established their brand here that's unique to LA- with the huge space, and partnership with La Brea Bakery's Nancy Silverton. Can't get that in NY, that's for sure.
For nicer pictures, please visit Eat, Drink and Be Merry's post on Mozza.
6602 Melrose Ave.