What would a trip to Los Angeles be without a stop at the latest venture from Mario Batali? Last night we did dinner at Mozza. No surprises, the place was hopping. The pizza cafe is open, the Osteria is soon to be open and the pizza is fantastic.
There are shades of Otto when it comes to the menu, the colors, the logo but the food definitely has Nancy Silvertons touch which makes the restaurant a destination location onto itself.
The tables are small. They biggest party they take is a group of 5. So, we got two tables. A party of four and a party of five. All the kids sat at one table, the adults at the other. There were definitely some overlaps in our ordering but not all of it so we got to taste quite a variety of dishes.
We began with the antipasto. A series of different combinations at $8 for a dish. The eggplant coponata is a much chunkier than Otto and has different flavorings. It was good but I think I might prefer Otto on this one. Large brussel spouts, halved and browned served with a mixture of prosciutto bread crumbs. Crispy yet soft at the same time. Not my favorite. Cauliflower gratinee served in a small roasting pan, heavy on the cream and butter was over the top delicious and hard not to keep picking at. Really rich with the browned cauliflowers coming through the rich cheese sauce. The kids had marinated beets, both red and golden, which were like butter and incredibly tasty. They also had the lentils which were probably sitting in a pot all day. Lots of flavor and you could almost take a knife and spread them over bread. The roasted peppers which had been roasted and doused with a fruity balsamic vinegar were also a huge hit and full of flavor. But, the hit of both tables, hands down, were the zucchini blossoms. Zucchini blossoms stuffed with a rich yet lightly whipped ricotta cheese then dipped in a light egg mixture and deep fried. The combination of the flavors but also how light each blossom was even though they had been deep fried. They were a total wow.
As an added "let’s taste", we had the chicken livers brushette. Chopped chicken livers loaded with capers and a sweet wine flavoring lathered over toasted sliced bread and a piece of bacon to top each off on top. Delicious. Josh wouldn’t give me mine back. He loved it.
Now time for the real reason we came, pizza. Each pizza is singular size, cut into four piece. We ordered four for our table. The crust rules. Very very thin crust but the rim of the pizza gets puffy and although it is thicker there is a crispness to it. You simple can’t stop. Tiny pieces of asparagus covered the entire pizza and then four dollops of burrata cheese, one on each slice with sauteed pancetta and onions flavored with the asparagus. Clever and delicious. The crunch of the roasted asparagus combined with the cheese and bread was perfect. The kids went with the wild nettles, basically a type of spinach which they thought tasted exactly like the spinach white pizza we had in Rome. The little neck clams over two cheeses, pecorino and parmigiana was a huge hit at our table. A classic, done Mozza style, were large fennel sausage meatballs, with a zing of spice, served on top of a white cheese pizza. Really delicious. I believe we also had a pizza with squash blossoms and ricotta cheese that resembled the fried blossoms but totally different in flavor. I really liked that one too. Josh was happy with his prosciutto and cheese pizza. All and all, every one had their favorites and couldn’t stop raving.
Dessert, why not. We tried a variety of gelatos but my brother went for something that was seriously out of this world, butterscotch pudding. A glass filled with a rich intense almost burnt butterscotch topped with a thick cream on top and a hint of salt. Thank god he only ordered one. So rich that one bite is all anyone should be allowed to eat. The waiter recommended it, he said it was the best thing you will ever eat.
Mozza, I believe that the Mario/Joe empire has expanded into LA with another huge hit on their hands.