Restaurant: Osteria Mozza
Location: 6602 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038. (323) 297-0100
Date: February 6, 2023
Rating: Strange meal, but some great dishes
This was a special Roscioli dinner hosted at Mozza by Nancy Silverton (shown below). While the food was very good, and it was a fun evening, it turned out to be a bit of a money grub. It was $250 and most of what is shown was shared between two people. The highlight was two plates of very simple pasta.
Roscioli is a casual but amazing trattoria in Rome that I visited last time I was in the eternal city.
A very crowded dining room.
Us and Nancy Silverton (shown here).
The very short fixed menu for tonight.
2014 Emidio Pepe Trebbiano d’Abruzzo. VM 92. Bright dark straw-yellow. Musky but subdued aromas of orange, herbs and lees. Gently floral and vinous on entry, then slightly dilute in the middle, showing a wild character to the saline orchard fruit and herb flavors on the medium-long, uncomplicated finish. Considering how wet the 2014 vintage was, this is a very successful wine. (Drink starting 2016)
Antipasti. This (and all the food except the meatballs and cannoli) were served for the two of us.
Selection of Salumi: Prosciutto, Salame & Capocollo. Good stuff, really as good as these particular meats get, but not exactly prepared here (other than being sliced).
Mortadella with Crispy Flatbread & Parmigiano Curls. Very Italian actually and I do love a good Mortadella (aka bologna). Very nice combined with the vegetables.
Mozzarella di Bufala with Cantabrian Anchoives & Zucchini “alla Scapece”. These marinated veggies and Mozzarella were really first rate actually. You rarely get these kind of classic Italian products here at this kind of quality level.
Traditional Eggplant Caponata with Dried Fruit, Pine Nuts & Pistachios. Probably the best Caponata I’ve had.
Fried Squash Blossoms Stuffed with Roman Oxtail Stew served with Cacio e Pepe Fonduta. Unusual version of this and richer and more complex than the usual ricotta stuffed versions. Yummy for sure.
1999 Lisini Brunello di Montalcino Ugolaia. VM 91. Lisini’s 1999 Brunello di Montalcino Ugolaia presents generous sensations of over-ripe jammy fruit and alcohol with great concentration and expansiveness on the palate and a sublime, long finish. Made in a powerful, seamless style, Ugolaia is clearly a wine crafted to impress, and indeed initially it succeeds, but upon closer reflection it comes across as somewhat one-dimensional in its expression. Anticipated maturity (Drink between 2013-2019)
Bigoli Cacio e Pepe with Pecorino, Parmigiano and Roscioli Pepper Blend. Probably the best Cacio e Pepe I’ve had. The noodles were delightfully thick and very al dente and chewy, the cheese bright, and the pepper very coarse and intense. Perfectly balanced.
Mezzze Maniche Amatriciana with Tomato, Guanciale, Pecorino & Parmigiano. Very classic Amatriciana. The pasta was very chewy and al dente. Absolutely adictive texture. The Guanciale was extremely rendered and very nicely crunchy like I remember at Roscioli. There was a pleasant pork and tomato blend to the sauce. First rate.
Traditional Roman Meatballs with Baby Potatoes. This was the worst dish by a mile. Just so so meatballs and some potatoes. The tomato sauce was excellent though and you can see the nice seperation in the photo. That this was the main in a $250 dinner was a little insulting.
Sicilian Cannolo with Ricotta, Chocolate Chips, Candied Fruit & Pistachios. Great Cannoli for American. The ricotta wasn’t anywhere near as good as in Sicily but the shell was nice and crispy and the candied orange fabulous. I would have liked the fruit inserted into the cannoli but when combined it was great.
So this was a weird dinner. It basically felt like a money grab as for $250/pp it was a couple cold apps, some very basic (if excellent) pastas, and 2 meatballs! That being said the pastas were best in class Roman pastas. But the ingredients are so cheap. We are talking pasta, cheese, water, and pepper (for the cacio).