I recently made a quick trip down to LAX for a video shoot with BlogHer CEO, Lisa Stone. We were invited to do a funny tongue-in-cheek Super Bowl video for Network Solutions with the legendary Cloris Leachman. It’s been over six years since I’d set foot on a television set, but it felt like old hat. And Cloris and her son/agent, George Englund, were an absolute hoot and kept us in stitches all day.
I realized that although I only live one hour away by air, I hadn’t been to Los Angeles in over 11 years! Crazy, I know. So since I don’t get down there very much, I wanted to make sure I went to at least one restaurant on my “must-try” list.
So I made a reservation at Mario Batali’s Osteria Mozza. I always got the impression Batali’s restaurants were impressive, regardless of his celebrity. I was eager to see if this was true.
My friend, Rene, and I decided to go family style and order a variety of things. We started with the Crispy Pigs Trotter (pig’s feet), and the Burrata with Leeks & Mustard Breadcrumbs. We weren’t sure what to make of the pig’s trotter since neither of us had eaten it before, but we enjoyed it. It had a creamy, rich, smooth mouthfeel and a savory, meaty fat flavor. The closest thing I can think of to it in flavor and mouthfeel would be bone marrow, since both are very fatty. But I’m glad I tried it. And I loved the amount of crispness in the breading. It was fried to a perfect golden brown and crisp without a touch of grease.
The Burrata and Leeks were a delight. I’m curious as to how they got the leeks to this soft texture and regret not asking our server. And the dijon vinaigrette had just enough tang to cut through the buttery leeks and smooth creamy cheese. The breadcrumbs on top, of course, added texture. It was a very well conceived dish.
For our pasta course, we shared what was to be my favorite dish of the night. It was the Ricotta and Egg Raviolo, which was just one large housemade pasta pocket with a soft egg on top that oozed its orangey yolk when you cut into it. The ricotta was creamy, light and airy, and it all sat in a small pool of browned butter. It was awesome and far and away the best pasta dish I’d had in a while. It was rich and decadent yet clean and simple. Perfect.
We ended on the meat entree: the Grilled Beef Tagliata with Parmigiano and lightly dressed arugula on the side. The aged balsamic they used on the arugula was sweet with the flavor of grapes and had a little tang, just like a quality aged balsamic vinegar should taste. It also graced the beef tenderloin giving the meat a slight peppy, zesty flavor. It was grilled a perfect medium-rare, flavorful, juicy, and expertly prepared.
The decor for this large space is slightly industrial with it’s high ceilings and large wrought iron light fixtures, yet intimate enough with its dim lighting and comfortably spaced tables. It was sophisticated but not overly warm or pretentious, which helped the mood. It’s a great place for a special occasion or date, but not stuffy, which is perfect for LA. The place was packed all night and we were lucky to get seated earlier than our reservation.
Though our meal was wonderful and certainly memorable, I’m not in a rush to return. It was a great dining experience, just not a regular haunt that I’d crave. I think I’ll head to Batali’s equally buzzed about, Pizzeria Mozza, just next door, on my next trip down South.
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