Tag Archives: Mushrooms

Osteria Mozza

Sorry for the delay guys! As many of you know, my life has been hectic these past few days after getting employed in the restaurant industry. The past few weeks I’ve been on some crazy dining journeys so hopefully I’ll be able to share them with you when I have time.

After hearing about Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich’s notorious success (questionable New York Times’ 4-star rating) at New York based Del Posto. I had to see what all the fuss was about, so I decided to sample their fare at the sister restaurant Osteria Mozza in Los Angeles. On a side note, even though we showed up promptly for our reservation, we were not seated until after a 30 minute wait. Tsk tsk

Even on a random Monday evening at around 9:30pm, the restaurant is still at full capacity and hustling. We elected to sample the Pasta Tasting Menu. Unfortunately for us we came in on a Monday which happened to be Meatless Monday.The meal started off with an amuse bouche of a Goat Cheese Spread and an Olive Tapenade over a crunchy baguette with basil. A great simple light starter with an intense kick from the olives. I’m not a huge fan of olives, but the dish was certainly delightful.The bread is just your average Joe Schmo bread, a bit unimpressed.The first dish was a Coach Farm Goat Cheese Ravioli with Five Lilies. The raviolis were light and delicate, and the smooth flavor of the goat cheese helped round it out (pun intended). Next, a Farfalle with Chanterelles e Noci. To me, it was a bit bland. I don’t think mushroom based pastas run well with me. A Butternut Squash Mezzalune with Amaretti was up next. The mezzalune filled with butternut squash itself was pretty amazing, but then it actually got ruined with the amaretti topping. Now usually I love contrasting flavors and textures, but the sweetness of the amaretti was absolute overkill, this could’ve well been a dessert. My friend actually aptly named this “butterscotch” instead of butternut squash. Batting clean up on the menu was a Gnocchi al Pomodoro with Basil e Ricotta al Forno. Although the dish was remarkably simple, it felt like I was biting into morsels of heaven after the disaster of a dish before. But honestly, now that I think about it, gnocchi and pomodoro sauce? Let’s get creative!Out of the pastas, this final one was my absolute favorite. A Corzetti Stampati with Eggplant, Olives, and Fresh Ricotta. To me, a pasta should be hearty and robust and topped with plenty of cheese. Even though I direly craved meat, the eggplant was a welcome substitute. I’m pretty sure I wolfed this bad boy down and then that of my partners. A quick side story, since our meal was taking a while and actually getting late (close to midnight), we had asked our server to see if they could just present us with the dishes so we can quickly eat and leave. This bad boy scoop of sorbet took them a whole 12 minutes to plate up. Back to the dish. As an intermezzo, we were served a Sorbetto di Coconut, which was topped with a piece of dried pineapple. It was sharp and refreshing and served its purpose as a palate cleanser. Finally for dessert, Rosemary Olive Oil cakes with Olive Oil Gelato. I am in love with Olive Oil Ice Cream, but the cakes which to me should be served warm, were actually cool. The rosemary laced candied sugar was phenomenal.

Osteria Mozza Scores:
Food: 8/10 – Although the meal overall was a success, there were a few standout dishes that I preferred to have substituted.

Restaurant Environment: 7/10 – A great open feel, and a few “unique” diners (such as a man reiterating that he would die if a peanut got close to him) added to the flair.

Service: 4/10 – I did expect more in this department, but sitting us 30 minutes after our reservation, and even asking to have our dishes sped up, serving it to us at a snail’s pace was just ridiculous.

Value: 6/10 – For $69, the pasta tasting isn’t a bank breaker, but no meat? Come on..

Overall: 7/10

Craft

In the culinary world, instead of the popular phrase WWJD, the phrase would be converted to WWTCD. What would Tom Colicchio do? The celebrity chef is best known for his role as head judge on Top Chef. His impeccable resume consists of multiple James Beard awards, highly touted restaurants from across the nation, yada yada yada. This is all splendid. However I’m interested in just one thing, if Tom Colicchio can impress me.

To answer this question, I went to his flagship restaurant Craft in New York City.Shame there was construction going on, I couldn’t take too many pictures of the facade.The fresh flowers that welcome you at the front door are a nice touch. The open space is a breath of fresh air. I’m tired of all these New York restaurants using every single square foot to their advantage. If you look to the top left of the picture, that entire glass room is their wine cellar. The beginning of many drinks to come. The Edison was a vodka based cocktail with lemon, passion fruit, and champagne. So what, if I enjoy a tasty fruity drink. The bread is nothing fancy, which kind of disappointed me. All the other restaurants on the same tier do tasty biscuits and fresh baked bread. Nope, not at Craft. P.S. they don’t even give enough butter for the bread. Amuse Bouche of Asparagus Soup with Creme Fraiche Shooters. Extra Salty.Ruby Red Shrimp. With a name like that you can’t fail. Right? These bad boys tasted like they came straight from Chinatown. $18 for a few measly shrimp? At least they were peeled.Suckling Pig Ballotine. What in the world is that? I have no idea either. The dish reminded me of cow tongue, but it really was more like a whole plate of bacon. I love foie gras!! I forgot what the server said, something along the lines of a Papaya reduction. Sorry, I was just way to hungry to listen. They serve the foie gras with some warm toasted brioche (which they should serve at the beginning of the meal). Sadly, this was probably the best dish of the night. The 28-day Dry-Aged Sirloin is served with a tiny bit of bone marrow. The steak was juicy and tender, to go along with all the other fine qualities you look for in a cow. However, it didn’t really carry that wow factor with it. My entree was served in a copper pot. Don’t be tricked because the dish is served in a pot, a smurf would even complain about the size. (Use the size of the spoon as reference)So what was in that magical pot? Some Beef Short Rib from the what was probably the smallest cow known to man. Served with a couple of roasting vegetables, the ribs had a very sticky glaze, which made it a bit uncomfortable to eat. Before I could even start enjoying the dish, it vanished in a couple of bites. So in light of the tiny sized entrees (one which was a duck dish that was not posted), we ordered a bunch sides to fill our stomachs. The Garlic Risotto was done to perfection. Flawlessly cooked and flavored, a plus in my book. The addition of bread crumbs to the Spinach Gratin provided a crunch texture that I haven’t had in other creamed spinaches. Onto (sarcastically) the best side dish ever! Hen of the Wood Mushrooms! We had 3 of these bad boys for $15, making them $5 a pop. What a joke! The waiter must have been laughing at us when we ordered them. Yum Yum. I always love potatoes gratin. And to finish the meal, a nice glass of peppered whiskey.Chocolate Bread Pudding with Espresso Ice Cream and some Dried Apricots. Just call it a moist cake.Maple Pound Cake with Maple Ice Cream and what was almost a Maple Chocolate.Ok, besides the Foie Gras, this is the best thing on the menu. Their Sugar and Spice Doughnuts with dipping sauces. Freshly baked and amazing. I can honestly eat these puppies everyday.What’s funny is, before they give you these tiny sugar cookies, they tell you that it was specially prepared by their pastry chef. Who cares? they’re sugar cookies, and tasted like they were from the supermarket.

A sad sad showing Tom Colicchio, I had such high hopes. Also, update your website once in a while to include your current dishes, it would definitely be helpful.

Craft Scores:
Food:  7/10 – Taking the portion size out of consideration, the food was very good, with some winner and loser dishes. It definitely wasn’t what I expected from Tom, nor do I believe it will ever earn a Michelin Star.

Restaurant Environment: 9/10 – The vaulted ceilings, open space and relaxed environment set up a perfect dinner location.

Service: 8/10 – The sommelier apologized for not having the wine that we requested, but gladly gave us an alternative. Our glasses were always kept full which is definitely a plus.

Value: 3/10 – I really wanted to visit the McDonalds next door, does that say much about the portion size?

Overall: 7/10