Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Italy in Los Angeles

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Los Angeles, January 20, 2015—
LATE AT NIGHT, the small dining room in Osteria Mozza: with only four or five restaurants you can actually almost converse in here, and you'll be talking about the food and the wine, if you're anything like us. We could almost have been in Italy, the comestibles were so authentic. Only the clothes on the (other) patrons, and the inevitable irrelevant background music, revealed the truth.

I began with the Agnolotti, burro e salvia — a favorite pasta treatment for me: simply butter and sage leaves. Here it was brown butter, slightly cooked, the sage leaves wilted in it; and the pasta was marvelous, tender yet to the tooth, and filled with a very suave mixture of mince that took me straightaway to my beloved Piemonte.

Next, Veal Breast Stracotto, long-braised chunks of veal with a fair amount of the fat, a very tasty stew, though with mushrooms that didn't seem authentically Italian to me. And on the side, nicely caramelized cipollini cooked with lots of thyme, an herb at the top of my list, and sherry vinegar. And maybe a tiny pinch of sugar: these onions were quite sweet.

We went for dessert, too: the Torta della Nonna, "Grandmother's torte," with honey and pine nuts — a curious, complex, tasty dish, more Tuscan than Piemontese, really a sort of cheesecake I think, very nice indeed.

I like this place. The bar, the wine list, the ambiance, the service, the location — I like this place. But beware: it is very popular and very noisy. Go late, and ask for the small dining room.

Timarosso, La Colombera (Langhe), 2010: Fruity but a bit reserved, crisp, deep, a beautiful wine
•Osteria Mozza, 6602 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, 323 297 0100
Restaurants visited in 2015 are listed at Eatingday's Restaurants

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