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My first Mozza experience

kellydeez Feb 5, 2007 09:49 AM

I know it's a tired subject, but having just visited this much talked about spot on Friday, I felt the need to clarify a few things....

Let me start by saying it was one of the most enjoyable culinary expericnes I've had in a while. Some friends grabbed a couple seats at the bar and called me to say there was an extra if I could get down in a few minutes. I flew down there in record time eager to uncover what all the hype/disappointment was really all about.

First of all, the service was impeccable. And by this I mean not only was everyone friendly, efficient and non obtrusive, but also went above and beyond to ensure I had the best possible experience. The bartender was a gem and allowed me to try a few different wines before I selected the right one. I liked the second selection and told him, but he said, "No, I want you to love it."

The decor was simple but classy and the room definitely has a nice energy. I loved watching the chefs busily putting dishes together behind the bar. Everyone in the place seemed to be having a grand old time. All ages and all types of Angelenos in attendance.

On to the food....we started with the Winter Caprese. Tomatoes roasted, and STILL ON THE VINE!! Nice touch and devastatingly mouth watering. The cheese was the best, most moist and delicious I've had in the states. We had the olives with the oil and cayanne peppers which were great and a welcome addition to every other dish, as we dipped almost everything in the rich, spicy juices!

The prosciutto place was divine. Sliced paper thin and perfect fat to meat ratio. We devoured that and wrapped a few slices around the bread sticks at the suggestion of our waiter. Manifique!! Then we dived into the pizzas.....

Burrata cheese with bacon, fennel sausage and the fungi. We got all three, happy to take some home for Saturday...All three were FANTASTIC. Ingredients fresh and composed perfectly. I kept trying to rememeber what the gripes were that people posted and one that stands out is that it was not authentic pizza. I suppose if someone really wanted 'pizza,' as most New Yorkers have the market cornered, they would head on down to the hole in the wall joint somewhere in the East village. I agree, I've had no finer example of traditional pizza. The pizza at Mozza is definitely a variation on that. Not necessarily the red sauce you'd come to expect, possibly a different choice of cheeses and definitely a new spin on toppings. But let me say, that each of these little pies was a little work of art. Everyone sitting around us was moaning in delight and each pie had it's own unique charactersitics and wonderfully blended flavors.

We went with the Butterscotch Budino for dessert which was beyond creamy and delicious. Really spectacular. A couple espressos and we were finished. We dawdled a while and never did I feel rushed or hurried to make room for the mounting line outside. The bartender even went as far as to say....take your time, have fun! Those people can wait!

All in all, a perfectly lovely evening in every way. The food was phenomenal, the atmosphere warm and inviting and the service was the best I've had in quite a while. Being as crowded and popular as it is, Mozza makes you feel like one of the family. I never felt the air of pretention that one might expect from a place that is booked weeks in advance. What a welcome addition to Los Angeles dining. I can't wait for the opening of the Osteria next door to see what new and exciting treats the Mozza folks have in store! Disregard all they hype, negative and positive, and head down to this superb Italian eatery and allow them to take care of you! I don't think you'll regret it!

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  1. dotrat RE: kellydeez Feb 5, 2007 09:55 AM

    Great report. I had a fantastic meal as well, a week after they opened. I am wondering what time your friends got there to snagg seats at the bar? I'd like to try to do the same.

    1 Reply
    1. re: dotrat
      kellydeez RE: dotrat Feb 5, 2007 11:35 AM

      They were there early. Walked in around 5:45 and they told them it would be a 1/2 hour wait. They went across the street and had a glass of wine at the Red Pearl Kitchen. They went back over and the seats were ready. I have to say though...by 8pm, the line outside the door was mounting...

    2. jcwla RE: kellydeez Feb 5, 2007 10:10 AM

      I have reservations for my second visit tomorrow night...am looking forward to trying some different things this time, including that heavenly-sounding caprese. I will definitely bring my earplugs, though...

      1. rachaels RE: kellydeez Feb 5, 2007 12:07 PM

        The bar, pizza or wine, is the way to go. I've walked over right when they've opened (weeknights) to snag a seat. I have to say though, they place didn't get busy until 8pm. So you're probably OK getting a seat at the bar up until 7pm. WEEKNIGHTS.

        I heart the crispy duck on Tuesdays.

        1. CarlieInLA RE: kellydeez Feb 5, 2007 12:09 PM

          I just went a couple of weeks ago for the first time and I agree, it was wonderful. My favorite was the clam pizza. Totally different from anything I have ever had, and so delicious. I can't wait to go again and try some other dishes.

          1. j
            JimN RE: kellydeez Feb 5, 2007 05:54 PM

            You pretty much described my experience in two visits to Mozza. Both times, I got there right at opening time and sat at the pizza bar. It's a little bit awkward having the servers work from the same side that you're sitting, but it's worth it to be able to watch the pizzas being made.

            I've read a lot of comments about the noise level. Personally, I didn't notice the noise level being out-of-control, and I'm generally pretty sensitive to that. On both of my visits, the restaurant was completely full with people waiting. Perhaps it's not quite as loud at the pizza bar?

            I just don't understand the haters. In my experience, the food and service at Mozza are absolutely perfect.

            1. d
              DagoRed RE: kellydeez Feb 5, 2007 08:27 PM

              I had the pleasure of dining with our poster KellyDeez. And it was every bit as good as she describes. My girlfriend and I were in the area at around 6, and thought it might not be too crowded. Being that you can't make a reservation for the bar seats. Just the smell when we entered made up our mind to wait as long as it took for seats. The hostess was great, telling us it was probably a half hour. She made us feel very welcome there. Not like a lot of places around town where you can't even get someone to talk to you. We put our name on the list, went around the corner to Red Pearl for a glass of wine. (it was very cool inside, haven't eaten there, so any comments on it) When we became a party of three, the hostess was more than helpfull again, and got us seated almost immediatly when we got back. They didn't even mind that our third wasn't there, and let us save one of the two seats there.

              The bartender was stellar. The food amazing. The service just excellent. And sitting at the bar gives you a chance to mingle with other people and compare dishes. An overall super dining experience.

              1. j
                jenjunum RE: kellydeez Mar 3, 2007 07:45 PM

                I attempted to go to Mozza tonight (Saturday). For a party of 2, arriving at 5:30, there was an hour and a half wait. Unfortunately we couldn't wait that long just to be seated. The (liquor) bar was completely full as was the whole area surrounding it. There were only a couple people waiting outside. We'll try again during the week right after work. Disappointing since I was thinking about it all day. Arrive early!

                1. Ginger Baker RE: kellydeez Mar 5, 2007 12:12 AM

                  i went tonight, sunday, at 11pm. it was about half full. we sat at a table in the corner. the waitress was not that nice. i spilled a little water on my table and she couldnt get over it. kept asking: "what happened?" it was weird.
                  anyway,
                  the white bean bruscetta was amazing! better than both the pizzas.
                  we had the bianco, which was really good.
                  and the gorgonzola/potato one which was weird. it was covered with some sort of extremely bitter vegetable. it seemed like they were trying to hard to be different with that one.
                  got out of there for about 40 bucks.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Ginger Baker
                    s
                    silence9 RE: Ginger Baker Mar 29, 2007 10:51 AM

                    Hi... The radicchio (on your gorgonzola/fingerling potato pizza) is supposed to be bitter, ostensibly to better offset the richness of the gorgonzola...

                    1. re: silence9
                      Ginger Baker RE: silence9 Mar 29, 2007 12:05 PM

                      yeah but there was so much of it, i couldnt taste the gorgonzola

                  2. c
                    CharlotteMichele RE: kellydeez Mar 28, 2007 10:05 PM

                    I normally don't like places like this which are so sought after that you have to fight to get out of the restaurant after you've eaten (as we did on Monday night) but I must say they won me over. We arrived a little after 7 for our 7PM reservation and were seated right away. The tables were so crowded together it made comrades out of the diners on either side. The wine list was not over blown and we ordered an inexpensive Sangiovese for $32 and it was actually good! The waiter was knowledgeable (knew some italian too) and not snobby and we ordered a bunch of starters and one pizza. The anchovy salad and the squash blossoms were really good. The pizza we ordered had NO CHEESE on it. I must be way behind the times but that came as a surprise to both of us. But like the other posters have said, they are reinventing the idea of pizza. Anway, not being satisfied with the one pizza we ordered another one and it arrived in a few minutes. My only complaint: the service was too fast. But then when we left and saw all the hungry people waiting to pounce I could understand why. Another plus: not ridiculously overpriced given their popularity. (see my post on Mama's on Maui!!!)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: CharlotteMichele
                      w
                      will47 RE: CharlotteMichele Mar 31, 2007 08:25 PM

                      Just for the record, there's a traditional Neopolitan pizza which has no cheese, so I don't know if that's "reinventing" the idea of pizza (though, of course, some of Mozza's toppings are far from traditional). A pizza marinara is one of the official types of Neopolitan pizza, and is served even at very traditionalist pizza restaurants like Una Pizza Napoletana [ http://www.sliceny.com/archives/2004/... ] in NY.

                      I don't eat dairy, so I eat pizzas without cheese all the time. I like pizza still, but it does make you a lot pickier about the crust and sauce.

                    2. Swoshmn RE: kellydeez Mar 28, 2007 10:48 PM

                      Had a lovely time for my first Mozza experience last night.

                      I had the Caprese which really was amazing. My date had the Brussels Sprouts that absolutely blew me away, might have been the best thing there, and certainly the best sprouts I have ever had!

                      Pizza went with the fennel sausage, and the burrata and bacon. The buratta was great, the sausage was amazing. I loved breaking apart the sausage so there was a piece on each bite, so good.

                      Desserts really did nothing for me, got the caramel and the butterscotch options. Butterscotch was way too tart for me, but the warm marshmallow and nuts kept me happy. The Carmel was the better of the two, but nothing wowed me like the apps and pizza.

                      I also remembered the debate of the reheated pizza so I got an extra margarita pizza to go. Enjoyed the leftover + the margarita for lunch with some friends that couldn't go last night. We "baked" one piece at a time in our crappy little toaster oven on medium, and it was Fantastic. I was amazed how quickly the tastes sprung back to life from our little toaster oven.

                      Can't wait to get back.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Swoshmn
                        vbabe RE: Swoshmn Mar 29, 2007 11:42 AM

                        The chicken liver bruscette and the baked swiss chard and cherry tomatoes with goat cheese ricotta are also really good!

                        1. re: Swoshmn
                          WildSwede RE: Swoshmn Mar 29, 2007 12:46 PM

                          How were the brussels sprouts prepared? I am intrigued! Thanks!

                          1. re: WildSwede
                            Swoshmn RE: WildSwede Mar 30, 2007 01:16 PM

                            Light breading, and a great marinade.

                            Simple but perfect flavors.

                          2. re: Swoshmn
                            j
                            jenjunum RE: Swoshmn Mar 29, 2007 01:18 PM

                            I thought the reheated fennel sausage was good (although the crust got super chewy) but the procuitto wasn't as good. Too much work to remove the procuitto and the greens before heating it and the greens were too limp to eat the next day (not that it's the fault of Mozza that just how greens are). But there was no way we could finish both pizzas in the restaurant. Next time we'll get sides and then split the fennel sausage pizza.

                          3. d
                            Diana RE: kellydeez Mar 29, 2007 12:09 PM

                            I'm excited. I have reservations for the 21st of next month!

                            I can't wait!

                            1. c
                              choysauce RE: kellydeez Apr 1, 2007 11:08 PM

                              The winter caprese is incredibly delicious. It was the best part of the meal, and that's saying a lot since the whole meal was very tasty! [Also got the fried squash blossoms, chicken liver bruschette, oregano salami/tomato/mozzarella/hot chili pizza, pancetta/ramps/green onion/something else pizzette, b.scotch budino]
                              Went for the first time today (sunday, 4/1) and had no problems getting a lunch reservation about 10 days in advance. The dining room wasn't even that full--there were one or two empty tables over the course of my 1 1/2 hour meal and there were a few empty bar seats as well. Sunday afternoons are apparently the time to go!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: choysauce
                                Amuse Bouches RE: choysauce Apr 2, 2007 10:10 AM

                                We went this weekend too -- I thought the special guanciale/ramps/peas/mascarpone pizzette was outstanding. We also had the caprese and the fennel sausage pizza, with gelato (toasted pine nut, greek yogurt and rum raisin) for dessert. The rum raisin gelato was great, the others were only OK. But it's a fun casual place for a weekend lunch and we'll definitely be back.

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