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Yes, it's another Pizzeria Mozza review...

A group of friends and I decided to get together for lunch someplace none of us had gone before. I have been wanting to go to Pizzeria Mozza for a long time, and my coworkers, who had never heard of it, were excited about it after reading the reviews I provided and, most especially, the menu. So Mozza it was.

The earliest we could score a reservation for lunch at Mozza on a Tuesday was 1:45, but I pounced on it nonetheless. We spent the rest of the previous afternoon drooling over the menu taken from the website, trying to narrow down what pizzas we would order (as well as a few choice Chowhound threads for guidance). On arrival, we were seated promptly, despite arriving about five minutes early, but it took a bit of time to get our order taken, and service was consistently a little tardy throughout the meal, with just two harried waitresses to serve a room that was packed to the rafters even in the mid-afternoon. At no point during our nearly two-hour-long meal did the crowd ever wane. If you are pressed for time, Mozza is not the place for you.

We settled on two antipasti, a salad, the plate of the day, and, initially one pizza. The arancine arrived first, perfect tiny little balls of risotto melded with cheese, rolled in breadcrumbs, and deep-fried, served atop marinara. (If you want descriptions on your menus, you are out of luck. Fortunately for my fellow diners, I knew what they were.) I think their small size kept them from being greasy, as larger versions of the dish have a reputation for being. The gooey cheese and marinara recall those wonderful comfort foods of Little Italy trattorias. One diner, the Healthy Eater, ordered the asparagus antipasto, expecting to inject a little healthfulness into the meal, and her face visibly fell when she saw the thin, crisp spears come deep-fried and served with an aioli, golden with plenty of egg yolk. They were fried just enough to make them slightly tender but enough not lose their snap; though excellent, I’m not sure I would jump to order them over trying other menu items.

We saw plate after plate of “Nancy’s” Chopped Salad being brought out to other tables, and with good reason. It is really excellent. Shredded iceberg lettuce, red onion, grape tomato halves, garbanzo beans, salami, and flakes of fontina cheese, tossed in oil and vinegar. Like the arancine, it recalls Little Italy more than the Old Country itself. We could not stop eating this. Of course, this was another blow to the Healthy Eater, to whom I teased, “The salad may just be the most fattening thing we ordered today,” as she began picking out her excess salami. The plate of the day was the Crisp Duck Leg with Lentils. I was a bit reluctant to get this, thinking we should focus on pizza at a pizzeria, but I am mighty glad we did. The duck’s skin was the crispiest this side of Chinatown, with the meat’s being rich and buttery, and the lentils had soaked in all the bird’s meaty flavor. Dressed with rosemary and sage leaves, the dish had a flavor that seemed more suited to cooler fall weather – this would be the perfect dish for a rainy January day, if L.A. ever gets any more of those again.

When there is a pizza on the menu featuring lardo, how could we not order it? So the Lardo with Rosemary was our choice. It arrived, and, at first, we mistook the lardo for shavings of some kind of cheese. It was a unique pizza to say the least: One really has to have a love of nuanced, rich foods. The Healthy Eater was picking off the lardo and declaring the pizza “tasteless.” “It has a taste. It tastes like fat,” I replied. I myself enjoyed it, though I am not sure it deserves the high praise it received on the favorite pizza thread here in the past. The lardo pizza is a tribute to simplicity, striking me as what pizza might be like had the French invented it. If you are a pizza eater who automatically discards any piece of crust lacking topping, do not think of ordering this. (While we ate this one, the Healthy Eater was greedily eyeballing the goat cheese pizza at the next table.) The crust of the pizza was much-discussed: I think it is remarkably good, neither too thin nor chewy and pasty. Others used to a lot of take-out pizza thought it a bit too thin and flavorless, wishing it had been flavored on the edges.

Not entirely sated – not because we were still hungry, but because we were seeing all these other beautiful pies coming out – we tacked on the Sausage, Panna, and Onion Pizza (another recommendation taken from this board) to our order. This one was stellar. The sausage was rich with fennel, and the fresh spring onions gave it a nice light character, keeping it from being too strong. But that delicious crème fraîche base was the best surprise, a great change from the normal cheese underpinning. It was rich, but not too rich, familiar, but not too familiar. (The Healthy Eater took the a piece ostensibly because it was the smallest, but it also happened to have the most pieces of sausage, prompting the other diner with us to exclaim loudly, to my surprise, “[Expletive] took the piece with the most sausage!” Clearly, Mozza inspires passion.)

For dessert to live up to everything the preceded it would be a mighty feat, but it did. The Butterscotch Budino is pretty much all is has been cracked up to be: sweet and rich and yes, touched with that wonderful flavor of sea salt. Without that salty tang, I would run for the hills, but what a difference a little salt makes. The Strawberry Gelato Pie shows wonderful restraint with the sugar, and the cookie crust has a nice dose of cinnamon. But the real hit of the show were the pine nut and rosemary biscotti that came with the budino and in the biscotti assortment. Thankfully we had enough biscotti – and were too full (and a little too tipsy) – that we did not come to blows over them. They are definitely worthy of a full plate’s order.

There are no cheap, cheap bottles of wine on the wine list, but there is nothing to make you faint dead away, either. We had a Trebbiano at $32, followed by a Dolcetto at $30. From the prices posted on the website, it appeared they raised prices in the restaurant some recently. Still, the wine steward – a disarmingly young, hip guy wearing Dior, not like the usual graying-at-the-temples type; I felt like carding him – was actually kind enough to recommend a wine that he said was “not only better, but cheaper.” I like that kind of service.

The room is tiny and crowded. It is noisy. The service can be stretched, so it can take a long time to get through a meal. And no, this is not discount pizza. But these are wonderful pizzas, made one by one, with fresh ingredients – no California Pizza Kitchen-style freezer pizza here, and the prices actually are CPK-comparable – in a convivial atmosphere. Mozza is more than just good food. That small, buzzing room; leaning in that get close; ordering that second bottle while you wait and getting a little more tipsy: Mozza is just a good time.

Who cares if the Osteria ever opens? Just expand the pizzeria already…

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  1. I love that you can get a bottle of perfectly nice wine at Mozza for around $30. Are there many other places in LA where one can do that? Perhaps certain wine bars, or the newly opened Fraiche, but not many other places.

    At $30, that means retail was $10-15, which is what I'm comfortable drinking at home when there's no special occassion. Any lower and we're talking Trader Joe's bargain bin/two buck chuck.

    12 Replies
    1. re: Pei

      Sure, you can get a fantastic bottleof wine for less than thirty bucks at a lot of places.

      If Mozza is charging $30, they probably paid $7-$10 for it. They mark up more than others.

      I've had amazing bottles reccomended to me at places like Vendome and Woodland Hills wine that cost $8 or so-so I'm leery of the "two buck chuck" comment.

      Of course, dining out, I have't seen much at all for below $25 or so-but the true wine lover knows that rating wine is a little more complex than price and vaue alone. Presonal preferences, food, climate, presentation, storage, etc are all a small part of it.

      We brought our own wine to Mozza. it wasn't on their list, and wasn;t something you mach with pizza normally-but it went fabulously. The corkage was steep!

      1. re: Diana

        What I meant was what restaurants can you get wine at $30ish? Not many. You either have to bring your own and pay steep corkage, not drink wine, or buy $40+ bottles. Even if Mozza is paying only $7-10 per bottle, I appreciate the effort to offer bottles to customers at a lower price than area restaurants.

        1. re: Pei

          Umm, actually, many places have wine for $30 on the wine list..

          Here is Caffe Angeli's (right down Melrose, by the way) wine list:

          Reds by the Bottle
          Barbera d'Asti Prunotto 1998 $20.00
          Valpolicella Classico Allergrini 1999 $20.00
          Chianti Classico Castellare 1998 $25.00
          Chianti Classico Antinori – Peppoli 1998 $28.00
          Dolcetto d'Alba Bruno Giacosa 1999 $25.00
          Sassoalloro Iacopo Biondi Santi 1997 $36.00
          Barolo Abbona Terlo Ravera 1996 $38.00
          Merlot Hawley-Dry Creek 1997 $32.00
          Cigare de Volante Bonny Doon 1998 $25.00
          Zinfandel Edmeades Estate 1997 $24.00
          Pinot Noir Cambria-Julia's Vines 1998 $30.00
          Cabernet Sauvignon BV Rutherford 1997 $26.00
          Cabernet Sauvignon Stonestreet 1997 $44.00

          Whites by the Bottle
          Pinot Grigio Pighin – Collio 1999 $28.00
          Terre di Tufi Teruzzi e Puthod 1998 $24.00
          Cervaro Antinori-Castello della Sala 1997 $39.00
          Sauvignon Blanc Pepi...Napa Valley 1998 $22.00
          Chardonnay Sonoma Cutrer-RR 1999 $25.00
          Chardonnay Iron Horse 1998 $25.00
          Chardonnay Silverado 1998 $28.00
          Chardonnay Stonestreet 1996 $26.00
          Chardonnay Cakebread 1999 $35.00
          Chardonnay Edna Valley 1998 $36.00

          The list t Il Tiramisu aso has several:

          Sona has a few bottles:

          I can find more if you want-it's easy.

          My point is, Mozza is good- good pizza, nice wines. but it costs too much-and some people have been fooled into thinking it doesn't

          1. re: Pei

            The $30-$40 wine list a nice thing. It forces you to try lesser known wines from smaller regions. Batali established it with Lupa in NY many years ago and even Babbo has a moderate markup of 1.6-1.8x on even higher priced wines. I'm guessing that Mozza's list has some Batali influence on it. It's nice because it allows you to enjoy wines in a restaurant without feeling ripped off and it's savy because you probably end up ordering more wine and more food or going back more often.

            1. re: Porthos

              I believe that Joseph Basianich of Vino Italiano: The Regional Wines of Italy has something to do with Mozza and its wine list. Mozza's theme is 50 wines under $50. I think they do very well. I like to bring my wine to most restaurant but not here. I am always interested in these relatively inexpensive representations of small producers. I think a lot of thought went into their list.

              To further explore this topic, I recommend Wine Expo in Santa Monica (retailer) and A-16 in San Francisco's Marina District (restaurant).

              1. re: Alta Bob

                Actually you are probably correct regarding Bastianich. Batali and Bastianich co-own Babbo, Lupa, Otto (also many wines in the $40 range along with many quartinos), Italian Wine Merchants, and are now in partnership with Silverton in the Mozza endeavor. I'm not sure who's idea it was first but I think you're right in that Bastianich is responsible for the wine lists at their restaurants.

                A-16's list is very similar in philosophy but I believe with a skew towards southern Italy.

                1. re: Porthos

                  Bastianich also makes wines as well. They own a vineyard in Italy.

                  1. re: WildSwede

                    A lot of Bastianich's wines are on the wine lists at the two Mozzas.

                    1. re: Woolsey

                      Are they any good? Have you had them?

                      1. re: WildSwede

                        Not yet. But I will say, I have yet to have a bad wine at Mozza, or even a "meh" wine, and I've always ordered off the lower-priced end of the list. They have an excellent, excellent selection. (I think I liked the wines from the Pizzeria better than the ones from the Osteria.)

                2. re: Alta Bob

                  So according to the LA times article the wine list at Mozza seems more Batali and Rosoff than Bastianich.

                  From the LA times:

                  "That's because Batali and general manager David Rosoff, who held the same post at Campanile, Opaline and Michael's, are serious about wine. Rosoff has come up with a list of fifty wines under $50 from practically every region that makes wine in Italy"

        2. "The Healthy Eater was picking off the lardo and declaring the pizza “tasteless.” “It has a taste. It tastes like fat,” I replied."

          Great line.

          1 Reply
          1. re: JudiAU

            Wait'll the Healthy Eater tries Babbo. It's grosser to watch someone picking organ meats out of their food. Pig snout love pillows anyone?

          2. Ya think I can get reservations tonight? Or mebbe try the bar?

            1 Reply
            1. re: cynthia105

              >>Ya think I can get reservations tonight? Or mebbe try the bar?<<

              You might try calling to see if they have any cancellations, but a same-day reservation on a Friday is unlikely.

              Re. sitting at the bar: I was there a few weeks ago on a Thursday night without a reservation; we got there around 7 -- they keep a list for people waiting for seats at the bar, and it only took about 15-20 minutes to be seated for a party of two. We were pretty impressed, especially given that the place was crowded. This was the third time I've gone without a reservation (the other times were once at lunch and the other on a Friday around 4:45), and all three times I was seated within a 30 minute period. So, as long as you don't mind waiting a bit, I'd say go for it.

            2. My husband and I went there last night at about 7ish. We knew there would be a super long wait for the tables so we knew we would be sitting at the bar. We had a 10-15 minute wait which we thought was great, being that it was pretty crowded.

              You sit at these backless seats at the bar and there is a "handwritten" place mat for Mario's pizza, and a package which contained your silverware and your napkin. I thought it was a neat way to keep a lot of ready sets of silverware and napkins together.

              Water is either tap or sparking. Tap was fine, and the waiter brought out a glass bottle of water from a fridge in the bar, pretty neat and seemed to me to be Italian way to serve water.

              My husband saw a stack of lemons and limes in a corner of the bar, "fresh made lemonade" said the bartender. Seriously some of the best fresh made lemonade we have ever had. tart with a hint of sweetness from sugar. Delish.

              We had read the your post, Woolsey, and saw about the arancini. you don't see much of those here in l.a. (in my opinion) we ordered those, yum! the sauce tasted very homemade and fresh and the arancini even had some sausage in them, super good. perfect size appetizer, but we thought a but pricey. well, they were hand made, so there ya go.

              Dinner: we ordered two pizzas and shared. the fennel sausage, panna (cream as i found out) and spring onion. the bartender (super helpful and honest) suggested that we smush the sausage bites so the fennel oils and flavors come out. GOOD SUGGESTION :) oh my god it was some of the best pizza i have ever had. the crust was slightly sweet, with the slightest hint of sugar goin on. very crispy crust. we also ordered the prosciutto, mozzarella and arugula pizza. first time we had pizza with arugula. super good as well.

              all in all we really enjoyed this place. mostly everyone at the bar was ordering pizza, which is what i think should be done at a pizzeria.

              the variety of pizzas was a bit foo-foo, but oh man were they good. we will definitely go back.

              35 Replies
              1. re: stacyface

                stacy just for the record, at Mozza thats is not "Mario's pizza", it is Nancy's pizza. and that's not an opinion.

                1. re: duffyeater

                  Can'r really agree with you Duffy. As a transplanted New Yorker living in Pasadena, I waited anxiously for the opening of Pizzeria Mozza. Finally! a restaurant that reminds me of home. Mario gets it right with ANY restaurant he has his hand in, Lupa, Bar Jamon, Otto,'ino , del Posto, Babbo....I can go on and on. He is a genius. Pizzeria Mozza has the Batali stamp all over it. Nancy Silverton is a great baker, probably the best in the country, but this is Mario's place, for sure. Just an opinion...

                  1. re: italiana3

                    I love Mozza but have yet to try a Panini. Any reviews on the paninis at Mozza?

                    1. re: maudies5

                      Haven't tried them, but given that the panini at La Brea Bakery are awesome, hard to imagine the ones at Mozza being any worse, and more than likely better...

                    2. re: italiana3

                      Say what you will about the restaurant, but the pizzas are 100% Nancy's creation. Zero Batali influence on them.

                      1. re: QualityMart

                        What exactly is Batali's role in the place? Besides having his name on press releases, that is? Is he more involved in the as-yet-unopened Osteria?

                        1. re: QualityMart

                          Where's your source on that? I thought it was Silverton's crust and Batali's toppings/concept of toppings.

                          1. re: Porthos

                            How about the LA Magazine article, a copy of which resides on Mozza's web site? "Mozza is really her restaurant; it was Silverton, along with chef Matt Molina, who devised the menus (in the style of Batali), and the 28 year old Molina will be doing much of the cooking. Batali and longtime partner Joe Bastianich lend their name, aesthetic, and business acumen to the place."

                            Sure, "in the style of Batali", and I'm sure he gives advice and suggestions and has some influence (heck the lardo comes from his father's store), but that doesn't mean they're his toppings or topping concepts. I've heard again and again from numerous sources (including one who works occasionally with Batali) that he basically had nothing to do with Pizzeria Mozza other than as described above. If Nancy was influenced by any of his places, so be it, but chefs influence each other all the time.

                            I believe he will have a more direct part in Osteria Mozza, however.

                            1. re: QualityMart

                              i hope batali has more influence. i waited for mozza to open since i was a regular at Babbo and Otto in NYC. but i won't go back to mozza. it is a totally different place. the pizza is nothing like otto's.
                              All we got from it was the pumpkin motif (which isn't even part of the nyc restaurants). disappointment from this camp even if others like it.

                              1. re: epop

                                Reading between the lines of the New York Time article available from Mozza's website -


                                - it seems Batali and Bastianich really are little more than consultants to Silverton who are being promoted to "partners" in the press releases in return for increased exposure in the Los Angeles marketplace, a lucrative one their restaurant empires have yet to penetrate but they may wish to enter some day on their own. Being previously introduced to Angelenos by way of Mozza could help them, and all it costs them really is a few phone calls to advise on where to put the oven.

                                1. re: Woolsey

                                  So judging from the LA times and NY times article, the pizza does appear to be enitrely Silverton's undertaking. I think Batali and Bastianich probably offer a little more than just "partner" in name though. In addition to the two below blurbs, the fact that Mozza's decor, wine list, and menu is similar to Otto's in philosophy and design suggests that Batali and Bastianich have made some significant contributions. Even Mozza's website is reminiscent of Otto's website. And making the decision to switch out the oven is no small feat considering it is a pizzeria.

                                  It's no coincidence that both have clam pies, funghi with taleggio, and lardo pizzas. Not to imply that Batali came up with the concept of said pies but well, just look at the menus for yourself. And if you're still not convinced, take a look at Lupa's website and wine list.

                                  Mozza's Menu

                                  Otto's Menu

                                  Lupa's Menu

                                  From the LA times:

                                  "That's because Batali and general manager David Rosoff, who held the same post at Campanile, Opaline and Michael's, are serious about wine. Rosoff has come up with a list of fifty wines under $50 from practically every region that makes wine in Italy"

                                  From NY Times:

                                  "And the oven, in the end, isn’t the one she inherited from the pizzeria that preceded hers. She said that Mr. Batali had realized quickly that, from a commercial standpoint, she would need something bigger — something just like the terra-cotta Italian import in the backyard of his northern Michigan vacation home."

                                  "With that adventurous wine list, red and gold colors and focus on pizza and small plates, Mozza struck me as a less sprawling, much sharper version of Otto in Greenwich Village, whose inferior pizzas are cooked on a griddle. Of course the similarities are no accident, given that Otto’s principal owners are Mr. Batali and Mr. Bastianich."

                                  1. re: Porthos

                                    Have you tried the pizza at Otto? While the toppings are similar, the crust is completely different, it isn't the same pizza at all. One would never guess the same person was involved in both. Mozza's pizza is head and shoulders above Otto's, no doubt thanks to Silverton.

                                    1. re: hrhboo

                                      Yes, I have had the pizza at Otto. The crust is completely different because Otto's pizza is grilled and Mozza's is baked in an oven. Apples to oranges.

                                      I'm not saying that Silverton's pizza isn't better. I'm just trying to comment on questions raised by others as to "What exactly is Batali's role in the place".

                                      1. re: hrhboo

                                        Yeah, those pizzas pictured on the Otto website look nothing like the Mozza product.

                                        And what it really comes down to is this: None of the things I've scene written about what Batali's done give me any indication he's ever once stepped foot inside Mozza. It all sounds like stuff he could have done via telephone, fax, e-mail, etc. Like a consultant. Maybe a consultant who put some money in. But really, if one gives these articles a fairly close reading, I would say the odds Batali's never stepped those hideous orange Crocs (nothing against Batali, but those shoes he's so proud of are genuinely horrendous) onto the corner of Highland and Melrose are pretty high.

                                        1. re: Woolsey

                                          Actually, there was a food network special showing Batali inside Mozza in his clogs wading through contruction and talking about the pizza oven. He was quite involved in the restaurant.

                                          The episode was Chefography: Mario Batali. Episode CHSP07.

                                          Scroll down to Monday, March 26, 2007 to see the picture


                                          1. re: Porthos

                                            I may stand corrected on his having been inside Mozza, but that still doesn't make his shoes any less ugly.

                                            1. re: Woolsey

                                              The man loves his crocks. Frankly, I wonder just how much droped food residue gets in there. Eew. Batali food/toe jam.

                                              1. re: Woolsey

                                                My brother went two weeks ago. Both Nancy and Mario were behind the pizza counter during his lunch visit.

                                        2. re: Porthos

                                          i agree, the facade is similar. otto has similar daily specials (i liked the ones i had at mozza, just not the pizza) and wines. even the toppings are similar. that's what was so disappointing about it for me, as a transplanted ny'er. it is the same thing only different
                                          and this time, IMHO, unappealing.

                                    2. re: QualityMart

                                      Here's the USA today article where I thought it was Silverton's crust and Batali's toppings.

                                      " They're the perfect embodiment of the Silverton-Batali partnership, with a crispy, hand-crafted crust Nancy spent months perfecting topped with a dizzying selection of ingredients drawn from Batali's gourmet larder (burrata cheese, littleneck clams, creamy lardo, squash blossoms, fingerling potatoes, peperoncino, guanciale, just to name a few). "


                                      1. re: Porthos

                                        i saw that episode. we know he showed up but somehow he didn't leave enough of a mark, no matter what that critic at USA today says. i wish there was somewhere in this city that compared to Babbo, that's what it boils down to.

                                        1. re: Porthos

                                          here is an interesting link to Ed Levine's take on Pizzeria Mozza

                                            1. re: Porthos

                                              I am eager to try Mozza, but remain unimpressed with Silverton's and Batali's extremely overrated cuisine. I just hope Silverton did not pick up Batali's disgusting habit of splashing cold olive oil on cooked dishes.

                                              1. re: Porthos

                                                (edit: whoops, double post. clearing this one...)

                                                1. re: Porthos

                                                  Well, whatever the case, numerous sources have said again and again that Batali's influence on the food itself was very minimal. That Nancy drew from resources available to her via Batali is no surprise, but it's still her (and Molina's) menu. (As I mentioned (explained to me by a Mozza waiter) the lardo is from Batali's father's store: http://www.salumicuredmeats.com/ -- don't read the product pages if you're hungry!) The USA Today author may have jumped to his own conclusions, but he wasn't stating a fact. For example, Nancy Silverton was chasing down Burrata in the mid-nineties when it first started showing up in the US. Check out this fascinating article in the latimes about the history of Burrata in the US to learn more:


                                                  "ONE day in 1993 he called on Valentino. "He came to me, trying to push his little mozzarella," Selvaggio says. "Casually I said, 'Have you heard of this burrata?' His eyes lit up."
                                                  Almost as soon as Selvaggio put it on the menu, burrata became a hot topic around town. "I remember Nancy Silverton calling me and asking me, 'Where did you get that cheese? How can I get that cheese?' " he recalls. For several years, Girardi was the only one producing burrata, but in 1996, another California cheese company, Cantaré Foods in San Diego, started making it."

                                                  1. re: QualityMart

                                                    I agree with you that the menu sounds like it is primarily Silverton's and Molina's. I also agree with you that burrata shows nothing about Batali's influence. I first had burrata at Campanille before seeing burrata arrive on the NYC scene a couple of years later via Di Paolo's.

                                                    One poster questioned Batali's influence on Mozza. While Batali's influence may be limited on the menu, it certainly is perceptible. Like you said, who knows about the actual recipes but it sounds like it is primarily Silverton/Molina's endeavor. In the decor, wine list and business model, Batali and Bastianich's influence is very apparent.

                                                    1. re: Porthos

                                                      that link to serious eats: that guy can't be serious! best pizza ever?
                                                      what will critics say next

                                                      1. re: epop

                                                        Not to get all ad hominem or anything, but ... we get it epop. You don't like Mozza. You have posted about your no doubt unsatisfactory meal something like 30 times by now. Some of us here have been to Babbo and Lupa at least as many times as you have, perhaps more, and still happen to think that Mozza is God's gift to pizza. You don't. Get over it.

                                                        1. re: condiment

                                                          we were discussing batali's influence, not my meal (yes, i don't plan on discussing that again).

                                                          not to get all theological but do you prefer i stay silent so you can keep your faith in that pizza?

                                                          1. re: epop

                                                            I agree with you that Antica makes a better Neo pie than Mozza, only because Mozza does not make a true Neo pie, but what else besides Antica was there for pizza afficionados before Mozza? Going to and from MDR in LA traffic is not my idea of a nice drive to a good pizzeria. Many posters have raved about Vito's, Lamonica's, Abbot, etc, and I shake my head in wonderment when they call reheated pies "great". I come around again to the point that if you've only had slice joint crap - cognitive recogition - then crap will continue to taste great. All the "good" NYC pizzerias are whole pie places, with a couple of exceptions. Maybe we should discuss slice joint pizzerias as a class by themselves, and not try and compare them with whole pie places, of which unfortunately there are not too many here. As for Mozza, I eat a pie there one a month now just to keep my taste buds active. I love their crispy duck legs and fennel sausage main dishes, the good wine accompaniments at reasonable prices, very decent vorschpises, salads, and a noisy, fun atmosphere where a group of people can share a really good food experience. That's why I go there now.

                                                  1. re: therealbigtasty

                                                    therealbigtasty: what leads you to believe that? I can say for sure that, as of March, they were getting it from Batali's dad, as I had a long conversation with the waiter about this and it was clear that the waiter knew a lot about the status of the lardo supply. perhaps things have changed since then. according to a quick google search it takes at least six months to age a proper lardo. if they had the foresight to start preparing it around when they opened, I suppose right about now we'd be seeing it show up. (I don't know anything about preparing lardo, but I would be pretty darn impressed if they were doing this.) are you sure that whoever said it was "in house" wasn't just loosely translating "from his dad"?

                                                    1. re: QualityMart

                                                      I have my sources...

                                                      That's all I'll say.

                                                      1. re: therealbigtasty

                                                        Well, "your sources" aren't all that secret.

                                                        See here, for instance: http://www.laweekly.com/eat+drink/cou...

                                                        When the restaurant opened, it was from Batali's father, but it switched over to in-house.

                                      2. I'd like a little help --

                                        The same group from the above review (plus one more) has already planned our second lunch at Mozza next month, and we're already poring over the menu. The Healthy Eater wants the goat cheese, leek, and bacon pizza she was denied last time, while the bianco pizza the waitress told us was her favorite is also in the cards right now. We're thinking one of the tomato/cheese/meat pizzas would be a good compliment to these, either the paprika salame, mozzarella, tomato and fresno chile pizza or the prosciutto, rucola, tomato and mozzarella one. Any word on these? Or any other recommendations?

                                        Also, we're going on a Friday; how is the baccalà al forno? I've never had baccalà, and salted cod doesn't particularly sound appealing, but I'm open-minded. And any input on the salads - the Healthy Eater is a compulsive salad eater, of course - is welcome, too. We'd like something a bit more healthy than the meat-and-cheese-and-oil fanasia that is the Nancy's Chopped Salad, but we also don't want the pile-of-bare-leaves thing I saw being brought to someone at the bar.

                                        Thanks in advance! It's going to be a long few weeks' waiting to get back to Mozza...

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: Woolsey

                                          I quickly skimmed over the comments re: whose influence is on the face of Mozza. You all take yourselves way too seriously IMO. Bottom line for me was we had a great lunch. Walked in without reservations and were seated within 5 minutes. This was around 2:30, so the busy lunch rush was over, although the place was still packed. Apps were good, but a bit on the smallish side. Our server brought out a brussel spout app which was on the house as the pizza was taking awhile to come out. Normally I hate brussel sprouts, but these were to die for. Garlicky and scrumptious with only a slight bitter edge to them. We had the speck/mozz, sausage, and gorgonzola dolce pizza. All outstanding and each very different flavors. Asked for some arugula on the side for the gorgonzola which was a perect complement the slightly bitter taste it had.(Which is strange as arugula in and of itself is bitter) Desserts were good with the exception of the fig biscotti. Would not order that again. Wine was decent for the price, love the service with those cool carafes. We thoroughly enjoyed the experience and will certainly be back in our next visit to LA.

                                          1. re: Woolsey

                                            Take a look here, I was there Friday night and we loved the Baccala.

                                          2. Went to dinner last night here with my boyfriend. We started off with the olives, which were great, and the fried squash blossoms with ricotta, which I enjoyed more than the olives. I ordered the smoked prosciutto, olive tapenade, and buffalo mozzerella pizza. It was quite tasty and the crust alone on these pizzas are absolutely amazing. My boyfriend had the fennel sausage, panna & spring onion pizza, which I agree with everyone was definately tasty and full of a lot of flavor. My only disappointment with my experience was the dessert. I ordered the Butterscotch Budino, which everyone recommends, and I thought it was too heavy and grainy. Maybe it was just mine that tasted this way, but I defiantely would not come back for that dessert. We also ordered the greek yoghurt with blackberry sorbet and fruit, which I thought was perfect for a summer day. The greek yoghurt was fantastic! All in all a wonderful place that everyone must try, but I have to say I am still in amazement that a pizza place got 3 stars from Irene.

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: fancycroatian

                                              Hey! I was there for lunch yesterday.

                                              I was so excited to see the lamb stracotto with polenta - normally Saturday's lunch special - as an antipasto. WOW! The lamb was amazingly tender and wonderfully seasoned, topped with olives and sitting on a mound of the creamiest, softest polenta. I thought one of my fellow diners would actually lick the dish clean. The crispy goat cheese atop a bed of beet greens was a great contrast of the sharp, oozing fried cheese on the bitter greens and onions, really nice. (I do wish the greens could have been a bit less oily.) The garbanzo been purée, mint, and pecorino bruschette was not such a hit, though. I liked the fresh flavor of the green garbanzos and mint, but it didn't wow my friends.

                                              The gorgonzola dolce, potato, radicchio, and rosemary pizza was a complete bomb. It was not good. The bitterness of the radicchio was multiplied by the rosemary, and the potatoes just made it even weirder; the gorgonzola was not a strong presence. For the first time, we had a leftover slice at Mozza. Fortunately, the fennel sausage pizza wiped that unpleasantness away when it arrived soon after. But the real hit of the day was the prosciutto, arugula, mozzarella, and tomato pizza. The fresh arugula gives a refreshing bit of bitterness to this more traditional pizza without making it quite as strong as something herbal, thus overwhelming the delicacy of the prosciutto. This might rival the Bianco as my favorite. The crusts were spot-on (Nancy was in the house, of course) with that perfect combination of crunch and toothiness, and the pizzas came out sizzling hot.

                                              Dessert was a dish of olive oil gelato and, for the newbie, butterscotch budino. The olive oil gelato (which sort of got lost amongst the other items at the Osteria) was really good. Its flavor is really delicate, lightly salty and savory, a little like caramel perhaps, with a faint taste of olive oil. I like its subtle nature. The budino at lunchtime was perfectly blended, deep and salty and wonderful. It was devoured quickly and happily, along with those fantastic pine nut and rosemary biscotti that accompany it. Two of us split a quartino of the excellent Falanghina, which had a good presence for a white. A good recommendation.

                                              Even with a few missteps on the ordering, we still had a marvelous meal.

                                              1. re: Woolsey

                                                So Woolsey, how many times have you eaten there? I feel like I've seen at least a dozen reviews from you. :)

                                                1. re: QualityMart

                                                  I posted two review threads - one for the first visit and one for the second. The only reason I posted about that last visit is because someone else happened to dig the thread up on the same day I went.

                                              2. re: fancycroatian

                                                Okay, so I'm not the only one who thought the budino was grainy! Last night we took ours to go and stuck it in the fridge for 30-40 minutes so I thought that might be the it, but I guess it is grainy by nature. I definitely thought it was a tad too sweet, not enough salt to counteract it for me. Good flavor going on at Mozza, could do a bit better in the execution dept. since I didn't enjoy the pool of oil at the underneath the pizza.