mozza: the wednesday edition
alright batali fans, your wait is over. while its mainly a nancy silverton joint, executive chef mat molina trained in batalis kitchen at del posto. overall, the dishes use superb ingredients. i know this is day two, so the place was mobbed at our 9pm reservations. the place is not without flaws, but these are to be expected within the first week and even month of operation.
started with the arancini alla bolognese (not on web .pdf menu), which are essentially deep fried risotto balls filled with meat and cheese in a bright tasting bolognese.(8 dollars)
next we had the egg, guanciale, radicchio and bagna cauda pizza (12 bux). (wanted to get the lardo until my dining partner found out what it was) the pizza was slightly unevenly cooked with one corner of the pizza excessively charred (im a fan of char), they attempted to scrape off some of the burn but no matter, the texture of the dough was really amazing. i've always been a fan of new york style gas oven slice pizza, and never really liked the lombardi coal oven stuff, but this pizza was really awesome. its not for the waif set, as the pizza was positively bursting with juice. not sure if it was straight olive oil or if it was the bagna cauda. i saw the waiter go back and forth a couple times with our pizza but even with slight post plating steam the pizza came out with a good crunch, except for the very middle. a larger pizza would lose bite integrity with steam exposure, so im happy with the sizing.
we ended with the piatti del giorno for wednesday which was a sole involtini with capers, parsley and lemon on a bed of boutique watercress. not sure what they are called, but the leaves were quite wide and modern looking while the stems were a little tough but overall had a nice, if a bit strong, bitter taste(im really just nitpicking). overall, the main problem was that the fish was overcooked. not horrendously so, but i anticipated that this might be a problem as the fillets were about 3/8" thick. the mediterranean flavors were bright and clear, and for 17 bucks i was pretty satisfied.
we were allowed to break a quartino into two tastes as we had already had a couple glasses of wine prior to eating. (12 bux)
we were pretty full by this point as we're not gigantic eaters and opted to skip dessert. im coming back in six days with four people so we'll be rocking a lot of the rest of the menu as well as desserts. cant wait...
this rockets way up with angelini osteria as my favorite italian joints in town.
I went Wednesday night edition, too, seated at the bar to watch Nancy make pizza after pizza after pizza.
Had the arancini (delicious and subtle - this dish can often go over the top). The caponata, which was utterly amazing to this eggplant afficianado and lover. Tender, not too oily or salty, balanced with acid and currants and pine nuts. Great. I want a bowl right now. I want a bowl every day. Had the american proscuitto (reared on apples). Sweet and yummy - gone in a flash. Two pizzas - squash blossoms and ricotta, and mushrooms, taleggio and thyme. Superb, especially the latter. The dough/crust was a revelation I thought - unbelievably light and yet with substance and just the right amount of chew. Burnt? She was snipping off the charred bubbles before plating each pizza but our were somehow perfect from first to last bite. Wines - awesome. I love the quartino and the prices and the choices. Falanghina bright and refereshing and nuanced; tasty dolcetto, a superb rosso piceno and a less good aglianico (a bit tough). A butterscotch pudding was insane to have at the end but I did (I'll delay my physical to it works through my system).
This place is fantastic. The ingredients are top notch, the execution is loving and perfect. As a purist and idealist, I think all food should be like this all the time but of course it isn't. Everything else is equal to the task -- these are seasoned, passioned restaurant people and it shows. The only negative? That I live in all the way in Santa Monica... (loooooong drive).
We tried for a 10.30pm seating at Mozza last night (after Bond James Bond -- fantastic!) but were told they were booked until 11.30pm... Bin 8945 instead. Pretty damn tasty over there, if slow.
Even more enthusiastic to try Mozza after your efficient but vividly detailed review, esp seeing as Angelini Osteria is my fave Italian in LA, too.