After we spend the day in Catalina, we made our way towards Hollywood to check in to our seedy motel (at least the parking was free…) and then off we went to meet Alyssa for dinner at Osteria Mozza. Osteria Mozza is like the fine dining version of Pizzeria Mozza, owned by the same group of people: Nancy Silverton, Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich. My particular interest in Osteria Mozza was that I heard they have a Mozzarella Bar and all of the cheeses (among other things) are hand crafted in house. My great love of cheese came into play here as that’s what I really wanted to eat!
The thing about fine dining fancy pants places is that their food is usually crazy good (you hope) but their lighting completely blows. It’s for the atmosphere and all that jazz but man, it makes a food blogger’s life difficult.
This is the amuse bouche that we started off with: a crostini with fresh ricotta and a daub of some kind of tapenade. I removed the tapenade from my crostini so I could fully enjoy the cheese without evil olives getting in my way. The ricotta was so creamy and fresh!
We were also presented with baskets of bread to choose what kind of bread we wanted. The restaurant was busy that evening and we all couldn’t quite hear the bread dude and we all asked for White Bread when he didn’t have anymore. Oops. I think he gave me the last piece of white bread that was kind of small along with a multi grain bread.
We were also given some olive oil for dipping our bread into. The bread wasn’t super amazing. Maybe if it had been warm I would have liked it a bit more.
[smoked bufalo mozzarella with prosciutto di parma / $19]
Jake and I shared two cheeses. They also have a cheese tasting which nets you three different cheeses to try but it didn’t have the ones I particularly wanted so we just got two. The smoked mozzarella was divine. It had a lovely, light smoky flavor that infused through all of the cheese and the thin prosciutto just melted along with it. I ate it with a little of my leftover bread and it was a happy combination.
[burricotta with radicchio, spiced walnuts, honey & fried rosemary on an oat biscuit / $16]
Be still, my heart. Burricotta. I had never heard of this before but I read about it before our visit. Burricotta is made the same way that Burrata is – the outer layer, or “shell” is the mozzarella and the inside has something else. In burrata’s case it’s this crazy creamy mozzarella made with cream but in burricotta it’s filled with freshly made ricotta cheese. Oh. My. Goodness.
This is paired with radicchio (which, actually, I didn’t like at all – way too bitter for me) crunchy spicy glazed walnuts (yum), bits of honeycomb (extra yum), fried rosemary and a delicious little oat biscuit on the bottom. I simply adored this dish. Jake kind of left me to it since I digged this more than the smoked mozzarella (which was good, of course, but ricotta has a special place in my heart).
[grilled octopus / $22]
Alyssa, who is not as enamored with cheese as I am, choose the grilled octopus for her starting course. I know I had a bite but seriously don’t remember it. I can only think of the cheese. <3
[calf’s brain ravioli / $20]
Alyssa is also a bit more adventurous in her eating. She decided to get the Calf’s Brain Ravioli for her pasta dish. She was debating between this and something else but in the end I told her she should try this since she’d never had calf’s brain before (kind of a weird thing to say, huh).
She gave Jake and I each one ravioli to try and I didn’t think about it really and just popped the sucker into my mouth. It was actually quite pleasant. There wasn’t a weird chew or anything like that (which I was kind of afraid of). Instead it just tasted like a really light Italian sausage. Almost creamy. The sauce was also delicious. Now I can check that one off my bucket list (not that it was on there in the first place).
[orecchiette with sausage & swiss chard / $20]
A thing to note about the pasta dishes here: they’re all small plates, not really full sized entree meals. Jake and I each got a plate this size. I don’t know if they split it, or gave us each our own plate actually. I liked the pasta itself but I found that the sauce and the sausage/swiss chard to be a little too robust and spicy for me. The pasta itself was done perfectly al dente with a lovely chew. I just didn’t quite love the mix of the sausage and swiss chard. It felt much heavier to me than the other things we had tried.
[ricotta & egg raviolo with browned butter / $20]
Okay, okay, okay, okay. This. THIS. It is heaven on a plate. It is a raviolo (because it is one giant sized ravioli) that sits on a plate full of brown butter sauce.
The aroma of the brown butter wafts into your nose as you take your knife and gently slice it open… then the egg inside spills out and surrounds itself in that butter with the perfectly creamy ricotta. You take one bite and it simply melts into your mouth, bursting with flavor and tenderness. This dish is worth the price of admission alone. It is seriously that good. I made it so this was my very last bite of savory pasta food so it would linger in my mouth for awhile. Om nom nom nom.
[grilled quail wrapped in p ancetta with honey & sage / $26]
Jake and I skipped on entrees. Jake was giving me that “OH GOD it costs so much” look so I spared him and didn’t order an entree. Alyssa can eat me under the table any day of the week and plowed ahead with her entree, the grilled quail. She gave me a bite and it mostly just tasted like a tender piece of chicken to me. What do I know about quail? Very little.
[bombolini with huckleberry marmellata and lemon mascarpone / $12]
We didn’t know what a bombolini was until Alyssa Googled it and found out it’s an Italian filled doughnut and she decided that was the dessert for her. I remember that I really liked the lemon mascarpone that it came with more than anything else on her dessert dish.
[pumpkin and date torta with bourbon gelato and walnut biscotti / $11]
I went for the Pumpkin and Date torte. There was one date sitting on top of the torte in all it’s glory with the creamy pumpkin below it. It had a very light pumpkin flavor. I really liked it. The biscotti was just kind of meh, it tasted a lot like the oat biscuits we had with the ricotta. The bourbon gelato had a really distinct whiskey flavor to it that made me think Stacey would have loved it. I thought it was alright, the pumpkin & date torte was really the best thing on the dish though. The other items didn’t really feel like they went with the torte in my opinion.
All in all a really awesome birthday dinner! Osteria Mozza isn’t really a “come here often” kind of place for us, but I’d love to go again sometime and try more CHEESE! Thanks to my best good friend Alyssa for joining us for dinner AND to treating us. I love her.
6602 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90038