Restaurant: Obika Mozzarella Bar
Location: 10250 Santa Monica Boulevard, Upper Level, Los Angeles, CA 90067
Date: March 3, 2012
Rating: It’s in a mall, but it’s actually pretty darn good
The day I took my Italian Wine Specialization exam a bunch of us went to lunch. I passed the test, but I didn’t know it then so was both stressed and in serious pain from my recently broken wrist.
One of the instructors, Diego (he’s not pictured, above is Stefano), took us to Obika Mozzarella bar in the Century City mall. I usually loathe mall restaurants, and I detest the parking at CC for sure, but this place turned out to be a surprise.
The inside is clean and modern, fairly small.
People brought wine. Big surprise! I wasn’t in the know before hand so didn’t have a chance to divest myself of some of my oversupply. These were all Italian, of course, and generally fall into the camp of really good terrior focused inexpensive wines. A few of these whites were really interesting. “The San Vincenzo is a fat, generous white with plenty of ripe apricots and peaches. The soft, caressing style flows through to the long, pretty finish.” It blew away your boring Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio.
This one is from Basilcata, a province in the insole of Italy I didn’t even know about before taking my class, but have recently become very fond of.
We began the meal with traditional meats and cheeses. Above is salami, proscuiotto, and mortadella di Bologna.
And the cheese, left to right, Burrata from Apulia, Buffalo Mozzarella from Campania, and smoked Mozzarella.
My plate. Good stuff. I love me some proscuiotto wrapped mozzarella (which I often had in Napoli), but truth be told, Burrata is best.
This Alto-Aldige white is pretty much in the Austrian style, but perhaps with a bit more Italian flair.
Because straight up mozzarella isn’t enough, we had both kinds fried with some fried artichokes as well. The smoked in particular was very yummy.
And this salad, a salmon, mozzarella, avocado, arugala salad. You’d NEVER see this in Italy, but it was surprisingly delicious.
You wouldn’t really see this either, burrata with beets, pine nuts, spinach, and balsamic dressing. It was great too, and you do find variants of these combinations all over LA. It’s typical that we American’s reinvent with Italian ingredients but without regard to their traditional pairings and forms.
A vegetable pizza. The crust was good. I would have liked to taste the sausage pizza, but such was not to be.
Diego was very excited for this buttery Risotto Milanese. Just straight saffron, good rice, butter, and cheese. Very rice and tasty.
Primitivo is also a rarely seen wine here in the states. It’s a relative of Zinfandel (the red, not the white), and has an incredibly fruity/spicy lushness. Very typical of Apulia, on the heel of Italy.
And finally, this Barbera D’Alba. “The Barbera d’Alba Superiore offers up dark cherries, flowers and licorice. The Superiore has a little bit more mid-palate juiciness and presence than the straight Barbera, but remains very much a classically built wine. I especially like the plush finish for its sheer sexiness.”
Out front they show off the meats. Only a few compared to some places in Emilia-Romagna which are graced with about 20 pigs worth.
And tubs of mozzarella (smoked).
We didn’t really try and entrees. This was a “light lunch” and the meat, cheese, and simple risotto were more tuned to show off the wines, but if you’re catching a movie in Century City you could do far far worse than catching a bite here.
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