Restaurant: Mother Wolf
Location: 1545 Wilcox Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028. (323) 410-6060
Date: September 27, 2022
Cuisine: Roman-style Italian
Rating: Really good, really salty, total carb bomb
Mother Wolf was one of LA’s most anticipated 2022 openings, being the first “post Felix” restaurant from pasta master Evan Funke.
Chef Evan Funke is a highly respected and accomplished chef in the culinary industry. He is known for his passion and expertise in Italian cuisine, particularly pasta-making. Funke has worked in some of the most renowned kitchens in the United States, including Spago and Rustic Canyon in Los Angeles. He also trained under Italian pasta masters in Italy, which sparked his love for traditional Italian cooking techniques. Funke is also the founder of the popular Los Angeles-based restaurant, Felix Trattoria, which has received numerous accolades and recognition for its exceptional pasta dishes. In addition to his work in the restaurant industry, Funke is also an author, having published his first cookbook, “American Sfoglino: A Master Class in Handmade Pasta,” in 2019. He is widely regarded as one of the top pasta makers in the world, and his dedication to preserving the traditional techniques of Italian cooking has made him a beloved figure in the culinary community.
Mother Wolf is “Roman” themed — not ancient Roman, despite the obvious Romulus and Remus logo — but reflecting the food of the city. Most specifically his own take on those foods, particularly the pasta.
The interior is huge and gorgeous. It’s located right next door to Mes Ami (RIP) and part of the same management group.
2004 Dom Pérignon Champagne P2. VM 97. The 2004 Dom Pérignon P2 is precise and wonderfully refined, just like the first release. There’s a hint of reduction from extended time on the cork as well as a feeling of effusiveness that is so appealing. Readers will find a super-classic DP. Dried flowers, brioche, apricot preserves, sage, mint and chamomile are seamless in the glass. The 2004 can be enjoyed now or cellared for another decade plus. Some editions of the P2 series have been pretty austere in the early going; the 2004 is not among them. (Drink between 2022-2034)
PIZZA ROSSA. salsa di pomodoro, sea salt, olive oil. Gift from the kitchen. Nice texture and char taste to the dough. Chewy. Great for being such a simple pizza (I like them more complex).
SUPPLI AL TELEFONO. risotto croquette, guanciale, pomodoro, mozzarella di bufala, pecorino romano DOP. Classic Roman risotto balls (supplì). Cheesy center. Very temperature hot. Suppli are like the pizza flavored arancini. Basically a tomato soaked risotto and some melting mozzarella. It’s battered with egg and deep fried.
From my cellar: 2020 Capichera Bianco Capichera VT Isola dei Nuraghi IGT. Awesome high salinity Vermentino that I bought at the winery in Sardinia.
FIORI DI ZUCCA. squash blossoms, ricotta romana DOP, parmigiano reggiano. Very nicely fried and soft ricotta inside. Like many dishes at MF, this is a Felix transplant.
RUCHETTA. wild arugula, parmigiano reggiano, lemon, black pepper. Bracing and refreshing salad, perfect with all the fat and carbs.
2019 Paolo Cali Vittoria Mandragola. We bought this off the wine list at the Somm’s recommendation and I LOVED it — bought a case on my phone while we sat there.
LA MORTAZZA. mortadella di bologna, ricotta fresca, pistacchio di bronte, agrumato. A pizza version of a bologne sandwhich? Really good mortadella actually with a lot of nice very fresh ricotta. TONS of crust.
GAMBERI IN SALSA VERDE. blue prawns, green garlic salsa verde. Head sucking good. Salsa brightened things up. These are pretty much a Felix thing too.
SALSICCIA PIZZA. mozzarella di bufala, salsiccia, sweet peppers, spring onion, pomodoro, origano selvatico. This was pretty much my perfect classic sausage pizza. Great char and chew to the dough. Soft and chewy in the middle. Really liked the sausage and cheese offset along with the classic oregano vibe. Like a fancy version of those New Jersey pizzas.
SPAGHETTI CON BOTTARGA. aglio, olio, bottarga di muggine. Simple but perfectly al dente and with good botarga flavor.
1954 Marchesi di Barolo Barolo.
TONNARELLI CACIO E PEPE. pecorino romano DOP, black pepper. This probably would have been very good if we hadn’t also had the gricia (which was stunning and had that extra porky flavor). Pretty heavy but very al dente.
SPAGHETTONE ALLA GRICIA. guanciale, black pepper, pecorino romano DOP. One rarely sees this fourth pillar of the Roman pizza quartet and this version was absolutely perfect. Such seductive porky flavor! Insanely good pasta.
MEZZI RIGATONI ALLA CARBONARA. guanciale, egg, black pepper, pecorino romano DOP. Unusual pasta type but very “creamy” and incredibly rich. I liked it a lot but it was making me very full.
From my cellar: 2004 Valdicava Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Madonna del Piano. VM 95+. The 2004 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Madonna del Piano is powerful, deeply colored and still carrying a considerable amount of tannic heft for a twelve year old wine. Dark cherry, plum, smoke, tobacco, scorched earth and licorice give the wine much of its distinctive virile personality. The Madonna del Piano is one of the bigger, brawnier 2004s readers will come across. As such, it needs to be served alongside similarly rich, hearty cuisines. (Drink between 2016-2026)
RIGATONCINI ALLA VACCINARA. oxtail ragu, guanciale, peperoncino, pecorino romano DOP. Solid meaty rigatoni.
PUTTANESCA. sugo di pomodoro, pomodorini, acciughe, green and black olives, basil. This wasn’t Puta enough. It was solid, and perfectly cooked, but I couldn’t really taste the anchovy. I wanted to be bowled over by the pungency.
ARROSTICINI. new zealand lamb belly, insalata di cipollina, lemon. Interestingly middle eastern. The mint “salad” was really good for offsetting the fat.
The dessert menu.
TORTA DI CIOCCOLATO. letterpress chocolate, arancia candita, gelato di pistacchio. Lovely rich tart and I really liked the candied orange and pistachio.
MARITOZZO ROMANO. monterrey strawberries, crema chantilly. Like a nice donut with strawberries and cream. Hard not to like as it was very soft and fresh.
Overall, this was a great meal. It was heavy though. It didn’t seem like it exactly, but I slept terribly. Everything tasted great, but it was extremely well seasoned (aka salty) and between the massive carb overload and the salt it really through my system out of whack. But of course I have no one but myself to blame as I did the ordering. And do notice that with four people I ordered three pizzas (actually one was on the house) and six pastas! That’s half a pizza and 1.5 pastas each, not to mention the other stuff. But really I probably ate about 2.5 pastas myself. haha.
And Mother Wolf, like Felix before it, is all about the pasta. They were darn good, particularly the carbonara and the gricia. I was almost tempted to order all 9, but I had to draw the line somewhere. They make good pizza here too, very good, but not totally mind blowing. The pasta is better. And they do have all 4 of the sacred 4 Roman pastas: cacio e pepe, amatriciana, gricia, and carbonara. They are all Southern Italian. The appetizers and mains are fine, but more forgettable, and not even totally regional.
Too bad MF is so far from me and reservations are so hard to get. Six months later you can get them, but only for 9:45pm. lol. And it’s a big restaurant. I guess Los Angelenos don’t mind $25-30 rustic pastas if they are good enough! I don’t.