The Monster wishes he loved Osteria Mamma more than he does. A few times he’s gone back hoping this trip will be the one where he sees what others love about it. And yet, each time he comes away shrugging his shoulders and saying “oh well.” Everything he’s had has been proficient enough. The service has been accommodating. But nothing has been of a level where it inspires.
In a charming room near Paramount Studios sits this Italian neighborhood joint with wood framed old timey photos on the walls and a small outdoor patio. The menu is a home styled affair of Venetian dishes that sound filling and comforting. Nothing strives to be chic or nouveau.
They start you off with warm bread and warm tomato sauce. The sauce is both sweet and a touch spicy and is a delicious way to begin the meal.
The Monster wades through the various salads and pizza before inspecting the meat and fish. The pounded and grilled Jidori chicken breast served with green beans sounds like a winner as does the grilled halibut fillet with sautéed spinach and baby heirloom tomatoes.
But on this occasion The Monster decides on the Tuscan tomato soup to start which is a special. It’s a thick, hearty soup served piping hot with crostini. It’s a nice soup. The Monster could imagine being served it in a home in Italy. But that’s just it. It is a nice soup.
For the main course the waiter recommends Mamma’s Arugula Pesto. Always a sucker for pesto The Monster happily agrees. Unfortunately, the pesto is a bit watery and needs a touch more heft to it. The linguine noodles add to the issues, themselves being a more delicate variety.
That being said, the portions are big and the prices are fair. Perhaps the issue is less one of this restaurant and more the way in which The Monster views it. It is a good neighborhood place, not a destination to drive across town for.
Why go? You’re in the ‘hood and looking for comfort food.
Monster rating: 3/5 Monsters
5732 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90004