Mozza's deserved fanfare.
A friend and I decided to explore Mozza last Wednesday night. We heard that - regardless of the LA, restaurant fanfare - it was relatively easy to roll in and sit at the mozzarella bar. That rumor is correct. We walked in at 8:30 and were guided to one of the tables by the bar while we waited. We ordered a bottle of the Bastianich rosé, which was elegant, crisp, with a light fruit. It seemed apropos as Joe Bastianich was in the house.We were told after 5 minutes that we could have a table if we wanted, but we opted to wait for our two seats at the bar - which only took a few moments more (the entirety of the menu is served at the mozzarella bar). It was a treat to watch Nancy Silverton hone her craft for the duration of our meal.
We perused the menu and decided to have the Crispy Pigs Trotter from the antipasti, the Scamorza Panino from the mozzarella bar, the Fresh Ricotta & Egg Raviolo AND the Orrechiette with Sausage & Swiss Chard from the Primi. We also ordered the side of Slow Cooked Broccoli. Much to our chagrin, our server insisted that we order everything at once. We intended to graze and savor. To take our time. However he would not put a single item in until we ordered completely. I am compelled to assume this is not actually the restaurant's policy but rather a server who wants to turn tables. He actually was our server at the pizzeria once and did the same maneuver... That aside, everyone and everything was sublime.
The pig's trotter was good, but generally uninteresting. The batter could have been lighter to allow the trotters to shine a bit more. The Panino was fantastic. Rich and rich with spice, with creamy, melty cheese. The Orriechette and the slow cooked broccoli came next. The broccoli was an extremely pleasant surprise, loaded with complex, smoky flavor. The orriechette was one of the dishes I had heard about before coming in and did not disappoint. The sausage and the chard provided wonderful textures and melded spice and bitterness, and the breadcrumb topped at the table created that wonderful bit of crunch that created a perfect accent. In my opinion the Raviolo was the standout of our selections. One, very large raviolo is centered on the plate, filled with the freshest, creamiest ricotta and a soft egg yolk. The entire dish is finished with browned butter. It could have used a small amount of coarse sea salt, but was otherwise heavenly.
We accompanied the latter part of the meal with a wonderful, Italian, white wine that cut through the rich, spicy, smoky, savoriness with perfection. For the life of me I cannot recall the name of that wine...
For dessert we had the Olive Oil Gelato and the Greek Yogurt Gelato and a suggested selection of cheeses. The olive oil gelato was subtle and mild, with a creamy texture that was like Summer in my mouth. I must say, that with the exception of the odd server who wanted us to order all at once, every person we encountered there were amazingly helpful, knowledgeable, kind and generous. We were given a selection of digestifs to sample at the end of our meal that were beautiful and delicious (see picture).
The prices did not offend me at all. It is not cheap, but for a long, winding meal that lasts hours upon hours, excellent, attentive service without rushing (I mean, they make you feel like they WANT you to stay all night.), wonderful, creative food and wine, it is well worth the cost (and really still won't break the bank. Hell, it's no Cut, price-wise.).
My friend and I agree. The experience on a whole was fantastic and I eagerly anticipate my return. I can't wait to try the Guinea Fowl and the Orata with a bottle of light, Italian red wine on a cool, Summer evening...