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Oct 6, 2008 12:45 PM

Osteria Mozza / Not-so-Nice-a

Four of us went to Osteria Mozza for friend's birthday. It took the usual month to get reservation...5:30pm no doubt. Three of us arrived on time with one nearby stuck in traffic. As soon as we walked in, we were not greeted with smiles and pleasantries but instead with a coarsely delivered question if our 4th was here and sternly reminded about the 15 min table hold. This set the tone for the rest of the evening. We explained ( with smiles ) how are 4th was close by. They said they would seat us but we would have to order for problem. As we sat and looked through the menu, we decided to order cocktails and apps for the table. When we told the waiter he informed us that we had to order entire meal at problem. We told him him we hadn't looked at the rest of menu and would need a couple of minutes. Now comes the manager (?) who rudely asked "the status of our 4th" and claims our waiter has been over "several" times but we still have failed to order. He then proceeded to talk down to us and kept reiterating how he "made exceptions" about seating us. This set my poor friend off whose birthday it was. I could not take it anymore and had to go outside while my wife tried to calmly talk to manager (?). I am all for rules and we gladly complied with all their requests...but the negative tone started from the moment we walked in and maintained a rude and condescending tenor throughout. Unfortunately, we stayed and dropped a lot of money on our meal and felt disgusted about it all weekend. Please let me know if anyone else has experienced a similar experience. There are other places in town just as good and Mozza made my boycott list.

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  1. I haven't had any great desire to go to Osteria Mozza. Just about everyone I've talked to who have gone recently, did not have to wait 1 month for their reservation. Some of them got reservations within a few days. Well, that kind of treatment is very poor in general, and just stupid in this economy.

    8 Replies
    1. re: slacker

      I know what you mean by 'set the tone for the evening' because I waited 4 weeks for a reservation at 6:15 pm..Upon arriving the valet wouldn't let me get out of my car before asking me if I had a reservation. Even after telling him twice he had to call another valet over and have a discussion between the two of them...I guess to discern if I 'looked like someone' who would have a reservation..After another interaction/conversation with them I was finally allowed to get out of my car and go into Mozza...but the mood was def. already established and I was in a bad mood. (ps would have self parked, but you all know it's impossible around there, especially at that time of traffic.)

      1. re: Blakekitty

        there is plenty of street parking a couple blocks south of melrose on highland.

        1. re: wilafur

          I've never understood why people bother with the valet at Mozza when the nearby street parking is so plentiful and free.

            1. re: wilafur

              Shhh.... We can't have all those people out there thinking "outside the box" and taking up all that street parking now, can we?!

            2. re: hrhboo

              Seriously. The few times I've been, there's always been street parking on Highland, just north of Melrose, on the west side of the street.

              1. re: andytseng

                the one thing I liked about this place was the place was the uber-professional valet!

      2. As a rule, I'm on the "who-do-you-think-you-are" bandwagon regarding flavor-dujour, hottest-reservation-in-town, restaurants where "the great unwashed" sit next to the bathroom simply on principle. It sucks that you and your friends had a negative experience (and I would encourage you to contact management there) However . . .

        My experience with friends at Mozza was just the opposite of yours. We're NOT "anyone", just people with a taste for outre-food when we feel we can afford to indulge.

        Four of us dutifully made our reservations a month out and on "the night", the joint was hopping but we were seated at an entirely acceptable table, within 20 minutes. Our waiter was patient but did ask we order our meal up front, explaining the kitchen liked to send food out in a particular order. We complied with the understanding we'd add to our order if our appetites dictated. He was pleasant and amenable.

        Although I have a working knowledgeable of Italian wine, the enormous list was so daunting we asked the sommelier for his recommendation. The bottle was exactly in our preferred price-range and was, in a word, "brilliant". Truly, one of the best Italians I've ever had.

        We tasted 5 appetizers, 4 entrees, 2 pastas and 5 desserts. (Fortunately, I wasn't the one paying) The meal and service were flawless, each dish better than the next, wait-staff attentive but not intrusive.

        From service to food, I know people have had every manner of issue with Mozza and the urge to bash is overwhelming ("NO tables available between 5:30 and 10pm for the foreseeable future!?" Really!? ) but in my case, I experienced none of it. The bill was . . . significant but not unexpected. I've recommended it to friends and would unquestionably return.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Steve2 in LA

          i'm in the same boat as you. however, the only differnce is that my frist time out, i had to wait nearly an hour before my table was ready. nothing was offered other than a sorry.

          on my 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th times back, i was seated withi 15mins of my reservation. not to shabby. service was quite friendly and the sommelier will not upsell you either. as a matter of fact, each time, the sommerlier recommended a fantastic wine at the bottom level of my price range. kudos.

          food is good, it can get pricey...but i would not hesitate to go back. the pizzeria is a whole other story though.

        2. I too had a very bad experience with reserving a table. I was told to call 30 days in advance and as early as 10:30A in order to secure a reservation. I called at 11:30A and there was nothing available between 10PM and 5PM. So, judging from the clientele, there must have been A LOT of people poised by the phone in Orange County!

          I must say the appetizers were very good.
          Unfortunately I have ordered steak twice and been extremely disappointed.
          The first time it was over cooked and impossible to cut (we're talking carpal tunnel syndrome) and the second it was overly marinated and swimming in vinegar.

          The hired/staged paparazzi hovering on the sidewalk was the last straw.
          Can you say boycott?!

          1 Reply
          1. re: fortune500

            Come on, do you really think it's such a stretch that an expensive, trendy Hollywood restaurant helmed by a celebrity chef might have a celeb or two tucked away inside that the paparazzi might want to take some snaps of?

            Mr Taster

          2. i like osteria mozza. deb and i sit at the nancy bar without reservation and have a great time. food is quite good, vibe is playful and the wine list a lot of fun (we're regulars at babbo, lupa, esca, etc.). nothing intimidating about the place at all. our first visit resulted in nancy sharing post-it notes with me re: roman restaurants. we've never met.

            1. I could not agree with you more. I was taken for my birthday by friends and my husband (all of us foodies, of course, but not snobs) and we were greeted with indifference, almost intolerance, the entire night. This is not NYC. The food better spectacular if it is served with an attitude and a wait list (which is certainly a marketing ploy!) like this. The food is incredibly average. We found the wine to be extremely limited and unexciting. And, even though I am usually the first to comment on the enormous food portions in American restaurants, the food portions excessively small. The interior is its only redeeming feature, in my opinion, but I would not go back nor would I ever suggest it to others.

              3 Replies
              1. re: db963

                i agree. Mozza has dropped the standard of the gourmet. Average becomes praised.

                I was in Vegas last weekend and dined at Batali's restaurants and they're much better than the ones in LA. I'll skip the factories they've built here.

                1. re: epop

                  That is not saying much. I recall dining at Pó in NYC long before the whole Batali/Food Network fetish started and was not impressed in the least

                  1. re: Ernie

                    I don't feel they're the best chefs in the world. But I had a very good meal at the Enoteca in Vegas. I can't say the same for Mozza.

                    You must be really tired of this fetish by now, over a decade later... Funny.