Mozza. Been a few years for The Monster, he loved his last visit. Still packed and buzzing but the crowd is a lot of tourists making bad decisions (hello horrible tattoos, mismatched outfits and loads of cologne) and visiting fireman on this night. Seriously. Put on big boy pants, buddy.
The setting is classy and the menu is a great read of exciting options. Let’s see how the Silverton, Battali, Bastianich joint holds up.
Steamed mussels to start with passata di pomodoro, chilies & herbs. Spicy, beautiful broth but small mussels. Like young boy in the locker room waiting for puberty embarrassing. And too salty. Wedding ring might not come off. Best for dipping bread. Hit and miss here.
Grilled octopus up next with with potatoes, celery & lemon. As good as The Monster remembers. One of the better versions in LA and a must get if you visit. Tender, delicious flavor, a stand-out.
Gnocchi with duck ragu. Good, not great. Angelini Osteria’s duck ragu pasta puts this to shame. It’s really not even close. This dish just doesn’t have a lot of verve, a lot of wow to it.
Duck al Mattone with pear mostarda & Brussels sprouts. Juicy and delicious. Winner of the evening. If duck is on your like list do it up here. Sadly, The Monster in his excitement to eat does not snap a pic of the duck. But you all know what duck looks like anyhow.
Service is up and down like the stock market and just as infuriating. One minute attentive. The next minute can’t get drinks refilled or plates cleared.
Tariffs are of course space station high and the valet is an absolute soup sandwich of incompetence making the end of the meal a little sour to stomach.
Mozza and its (now many) offshoots are still a destination but on this evening there are issues that keep The Monster from singing its praises as much as he hoped.
Why go? Old time’s sake.
Monster rating: 3½/5 Monsters
641 North Highland Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90036