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Feb 5, 2007 09:49 AM

My first Mozza experience

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. 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

      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 8pm, the line outside the door was mounting...

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

      1. 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. 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. 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.