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Mozza: the emperor's new clothes

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How can people possibly like this restaurant? My wife and I just had our second meal at Osteria Mozza and both times the food was so salty we came away headache-y, insanely thirsty and oddly depressed. Even the desserts were salty. How is this possible, from the woman who gave us the desserts at Campanile in the great old days, and La Brea Bakery bread? Noise level, general lack of flavor and salt, salt, salt. I just don't get it.

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  1. Sorry about your experiences there. When I do go, I go late (after 10PM) and order only pasta dishes (these are, in my opinion, their forte) and order the butterscotch budino for dessert.

    One of my Hound-ish friends actually wears earplugs (I kid you not) while dining there, due to their noise level.

    4 Replies
    1. re: J.L.

      They sell the budino at OM? never seen it on the menu...only at pizzeria!

      1. re: manku

        Not on the menu at OM - so unless they are offering as a special at times looks like they don't.


        1. re: Servorg

          Hmm... I've had it at OM but not at PM. I must have gone when it was on the menu that night.

      2. re: J.L.

        It isn't so much the decibel level as it is the odd tinny echo that makes it possible to hear somebody eight tables away but not the person across the table from you. The pizzeria is loud, also, but in a lively jammed New York kind of way.

      3. Sounds horrendous. I'll make sure to skip it.

        There is no disputing taste. Some people don't know how to converse or don't want to.

        1. It can be a bit loud, a sad trend that seems to have overtaken many restaurants, but there is no denying the quality of the food. I think the best in L.A.

          5 Replies
          1. re: auntflo

            Is there a time when one can eat there in relative peace?

            1. re: epop

              Hard question to answer - Maybe, say, if you arrived around 10:30PM?

                1. re: epop

                  If you can manage a reservation for that slot...

              1. re: epop

                Just did the Amaro Bar menu at the bar on Wednesday nite at 8 p.m. and the sound was fine and the food divine. No Budino on this menu (pizzeria only) but you can walk next door and pick it up at Mozza2Go.

            2. I generally agree with you on the salt factor. We went with high expectations, primed by the drools Osteria Mozza generated on this Board, and were disappointed. I couldn't finish my meat course it was so salty. The only decent dishes were the mozzarella ones. This is not even close to the top tier of restaurants in LA, it's just yet another of the "say you went and be cool" cluster of underwhelming and overpriced eateries that populate this place. I have lived in LA over 25 years and it is only when I travel to other places that I remember that restaurants need to walk the talk. Some do, but In LA unfortunately most of them are just big talkers ---

              1 Reply
              1. re: NAspy

                After months of anticipation, went last night. Should have read this thread first. Salt, salt, salt. Can't imagine how anyone could be tasting the food and letting it out of the kitchen with that much salt. Had a couple of good dishes, but nothing great. Tripe alla Parmagiana con ceci was well balanced and the Burricotta with braised artichokes, pine nuts, currants & mint pesto was terrific. The Tagliatelle Verde with duck ragu was really, really good. But then... The braised rabbit was not only WAY too salty but the sauce was really fatty. Even the honey on the side of the Torta della Nonna was salty! The olive oil cakes, though very tasty and paired with a great rosemary spun sugar ribbon and gelato, were undercooked and heavy. No interest in going back. But if I were, I would say: the best stuff by far comes from the mozzarella bar and the primi list.

              2. Well I don't eat meat, and I have only been to the pizzeria--I do remember a saltiness to something I got. On the other hand, I did like the food. It was ridiculously loud, but then again where isn't. It means people are enjoying themselves. Not everyone is monkishly quiet like me . . . Sounds like though food wise, from other posts, I am okay ordering mozzarella dishes . . .

                1. I must disagree with you about the food at OM, though I haven't had too many of their entrees or the pasta yet...Everything I've had from the mozzarella bar has been really good....there was something with artichokes the last time I went which was just a perfect bite of food...I really enjoyed a duck dish there that was so flavorful and delicious...the budino is probably the best dessert I've had...and it has salt in it...but I think the salt enhances the flavor in the dessert

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: peppermonkey

                    I've had quite a few terrific meals there. Never a dud. Never noticed it being too salty either. That happens, and it even happens at some very good restaurants. But it shouldn't. You should definitely tell the waiter. The owners want to know this - and would prefer you tell them than, say, shouting it to the world on Chowhound. Sometimes there's someone in the back who is salting but not tasting. Or it gets double salted. Either way, it shouldn't happen and someone should know about it.

                    So? Did you tell the waiter? Did they correct the meal?
                    Comme Ca. But I've also had very good meals there at other times.
                    I have it happen at Palate, Anisette, Rockenwagner's (the old one) and

                    1. re: foodiemahoodie

                      Well in the op's favor. If I get bad food from a waiter, I am not going to tell them. I will just leave after being polite or take the food with me and throw it out and just never return. I don't want to get spit food or worse. I know that's silly, but if they can't stop a little extra salt from going out--it's not like they have good control. Plus you can never tell with people, we are a cruel mean, and disgusting bunch.

                      The owner should correct their food themselves. You watch Gordon Ramsay on that tv show. He stops bad food from going out. You can't blame a customer from not complaining to the staff--I was going to use a metaphor here but its probably too extreme--anyway the crime is by the staff.

                      1. re: apple7blue

                        The problem is that they've got droves wanting to get in. So there is no reason for them to change. Batali has dozens of places to manage, on top of it.

                        A disappointment all around.

                  2. I totally agree. Husband and I went ther for a special occassion. I did a ton of research on what were the top dishes and what the "don't miss" selection were. I didn't realize that a salt shaker came on every entree. It was awful. I admit it, I fell for the hype. I won't make that mistake again. We had several dishes and nothing impressed. We were so disappointed. I don't understand the rave over this place. I guess some people just love the taste of salt. I prefer food with a bit more charisma. Mozza does not deliver.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: designjb

                      That is so annoying. I wish it weren't the case. It isn't like that at the Pizzeria.