Just For The Hell Of It: Dinner at Osteria Mozza
I had just finished up a snifter of bourbon at Bowery when hunger struck me last night. Not the kind of hunger that nearby options could readily solve -- I wanted something *substantial*. And so I called a cab and headed over to Osteria Mozza.
Sitting at the mozzarella bar, I started off with a salad of red endive, parmesan and fennel. Those are three of my favorite ingredients, and it was great because it had that oh so slight salty and bitter flavor in every bite, a real contrast to the typical sour salads where the leaves are just a vehicle for vinaigrette.
Next up, pig trotters. You might be shy about eating pigs' feet, but I thought it was delicious. Rustic Italian at its finest.
I then had the scamorza, which came out like the world's best grilled cheese sandwich. The salumi had serious spice to it, and I could only have a few bites, but it was pretty tasty.
For my main, I had the guinea fowl which was excellent. That's dish is a real winner. I wish I could remember more details of this, but at this point I had started working on a glass of Lagavulin. But it's big and hearty and had wonderful depth of flavor, akin to an osso bucco.
I admit that I'd always been a skeptic of Mozza, but they're putting out some great product. The noise level was just a shade louder than I like, but I think it's a hip vibe regardless.
6602 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90038
The problem that OM has is not with the food per se; rather, it is with the expectations.
From the pre-opening buzz, to the anticipation built up from the crowds at Osteria Pizzeria, to the (artificially created?) reservation logjam, people go into OM with these sky-high expectations, which sadly are almost never met.
Not Nancy's or Mario's fault, just one of those inconvenient facts of life.
There is a lot of Osteria Mozza hating on this board but I think if you can get beyond the hype - the food is the thing and the food is seriously good.
That said, I love spice and really enjoyed the scamorza but agree that it is on the edge of prohibitively hot - especially within the context of the rest of the menu.