6602 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038
A concept by restaurateur Joseph Bastianich, celebrity chef Mario Batali and Nancy Silverton of La Brea Bakery fame, Osteria Mozza serves a more upscale Italian meal than its sister pizzeria. However, both have been very popular since their inception a few years ago.
My family is a pretty big fan of Pizzeria Mozza, and we’ve had some good meals at Bastianich/Batali’s offerings in Las Vegas and New York. So, a dinner at Osteria Mozza was a must-try.
The menu is extensive, offering a variety of appetizers including a wide array of fresh mozzarella dishes. There are enough pastas to appease anyone, and the entrees are heavy on the meat, with some fish options. We started off with a treat from the kitchen.
Fresh ricotta, black olive tapenade on crostini
The ricotta started strong with a preview of the excellent cheeses served here. The flavors were good, and the olive tapenade, which can sometimes be overpowering, was not.
Tripe alla Parmigiana
The tripe had a very supple texture, tender and not at all chewy. You don’t get a ton of flavor from the tripe; much of it comes from the spicy tomato-based sauce. It was just right for me, but others in the party thought it was too spicy.
Burrata with speck, pickled shallots & pane pomodoro
I love Mozza’s burrata – creamy and smooth yet light, it’s complemented well with the saltiness of the speck and acidity of the pickled shallots.
Bufala Mozzarella with prosciutto di Parma
This was a pretty simple, classic combination. Each component was good on its own, yet having both the cheese and proscuitto in each bite was even better.
Caprese with bufala mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and basil
Mozza’s take on the standard caprese did not involve any molecular gastronomic tricks – they keep it simple and with tradition, showcasing their mozzarella and some great tomatoes.
Coach Farm Goat Cheese Ravioli with five lilies
When this dish came out, it looked pretty damn good. Its flavors did not let me down with its al dente pasta and delicate, smooth filling. Delicious.
Orecchiette with sausage & Swiss chard
This was probably my favorite pasta of the night. The pasta, similar to the others, was cooked perfectly with a nice chew. The sausage was delicious as well, and the breadcrumbs added a terrific crunchy bite.
Tagliatelle with oxtail ragu
The meaty ragu, with chunks of oxtail, worked well with the flat tagliatelle pasta. The tomato-based sauce was rich with a deep, meaty flavor.
Agnolotti burro e salvia
These agnolotti were filled with a variety of meats (including chicken and mortadella). The smooth filling and pasta resulted in a good bite each time.
Pan Roasted Pork Loin with fagioli alla Castelluccio
The pork here was surprisingly tender and very juicy. The flavor was very good as well. The beans, adding a bit of starch to the dish, were a welcome addition.
Duck al Mattone with pear mostarda & corn
Here we had half of a duck, fried quite well with a crispy skin. The pear mostarda was crucial to add another dimension of flavor and some sweetness, though this was not my favorite dish.
Grilled Quail wrapped in pancetta with sage & honey
The quail was exceptional, juicy and tender, with just enough smoky grill flavor. The pancetta and herbs were just enough to complement the flavors without overwhelming the quail.
Veal Breast Stracotto with carrots
The veal was exceedingly tender, succulent and tasted quite good.
Grilled Beef Tagliata rucola & Parmigiano with aceto balsamico
The beef, in this case hanger steak, was cooked a nice medium rare. However, its flavor wasn’t quite as exciting as some of the previous courses.
To go with our entrees, we split three side dishes:
Polenta with Parmigiano Reggiano
The polenta was creamy and smooth. Not a ton of flavor here though, I probably could’ve used a little more salt. The cheese wasn’t too apparent in the dish, either.
Sauteed wild spinach with crisp garlic
The sauteed spinach was solid, while the strips of fried garlic added a little bit of texture and garlic flavor.
Fried potatoes with rosemary
I really enjoyed these potatoes. They were smashed and fried to a crisp with some rosemary. Crisp on the outside, with a soft and fluffy center, these had the perfect consistency.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have time for dessert since my family had a flight to catch. My favorites from past visits have been the bombolini and rosemary olive oil cakes. This was another well-executed meal here at Mozza; the dishes have just enough excitement to keep them interesting, while not overwhelming less-experimental diners. The strengths continue to be at the mozzarella bar and pastas, though the entrees hold their own. It’s easy to see why the restaurant has been popular ever since opening.