So. Nancy Silverton has created a new pop-up restaurant within the Mozza Grouping... it's a family style big single table dining experience in the "classroom" next to Mozza2Go. The table seats about 20.
A friend and I were there this past Friday night, along with a group celebrating a birthday and Pulitzer Prize winning Jonathan Gold and his family.
And... It was an amazing night of amazing food. I'll write about it here... Mr. Gold wrote about it here: http://www.laweekly.com/2010-06-24/ea...
The room is lovely. You sit, as I said, at a single large table with everyone who's been lucky enough to snag a reservation. The room also has a big working kitchen island/bar behind which is one of the famed Mozza pizza ovens. The smell of the wood burning and the warmth of the fire makes the room "glow" even more.
Since it's one table, it all becomes one party. Nancy and Matt Molina are there during the entire dinner. Hosting, cooking, explaining... It truly is as if you've come into her home for dinner. To the point of even keeping the same dinner plate during all the courses. All the food is served on large platters, family style.
And obviously you want to know about the food. Of course, this was our meal. Since this is a dinner party... your's may vary. Ours was Tuscan Meat night.
When we arrived a large platter of seasonal vegetables (heirloom carrots of all colors, little french radishes, sliced fennel etc) was brought to the table, along with a really wonderful garlicky/anchovy Bagna Cauda. And of course 3 loaves of Nancy's bread. We dipped. We ate. We reminded ourselves not to fill up on bread and veggies.
They then add two foccacias to the mix. One with roasted red peppers that had a very spicy kick and the other with cheese and olives. They were the right combination of crunchy crusty outside with chewy bready inside and good olive oil. I want one right now.
The next course was "Carne Cruda - carciofi e Parmigiano-Reggiano". Steak tartare on crostini with shaved parm on top. The meat was gentle and beefy and the parm added a great salty note.
I should mention that this meal is all you can eat. Though here I would label it more "all you should try to stop yourself from eating." You will want to have seconds early on. I caution you. Do not. For later in the meal, when another fabulous dish is placed in front of you, you will wish you had a little more room to spare.
Next course: Bone Marrow on buttered toast. Large perfectly roasted bones with that unctuous marrow waiting to be scooped out and placed on toast. Delicious. Rich beyond belief.
Moving on to: Breve Costoletta Alla Griglia with salsa verde. Thin sliced short ribs (sliced the Korean style) with a salsa verde. My favorite. I love short ribs this way. There was a slight sweetness to the marinade and the herby salsa verde worked just perfectly with the grilled meat.
And then: Coda Alla Vaccinara - brasati sedano. Ox tail. Big, slow roasted until meltingly perfect served over a bed of braised celery that change my mind about this usually pedestrian veg. But it was also at this course that I really needed to know the Italian word for "Uncle"... I was full. But the menu wasn't.
So out came: Bistecca Fiorentina - fagioli e swiss chard, cippolini al forno. Which I wished I could have taken home in a box to enjoy later. It was wonderful. The roasted onions were a perfect sweet counterpoint to the bitter chard and simple beans. The meat was crusty good on the outside and bloody rare on the inside... which is exactly how I like it.
And then desert. Ciliege Al Forno. Two gelatos. One mixed berry. One yogurt. Both a nice light ending to the meal. Also in attendance: Pignoli cookies and an Almond Biscotti-esque cookie.
The meal was 3 hours long and besides the great service and wonderful food it was really nice to sit and meet new people in this setting. There was always something to discuss. And we got the added surprise of sharing our meal with Jonathan Gold and family. He was generous with his conversation and food advice. What Chowhound wouldn't have picked his brain if given the chance!? His family was great too. His wife, son and daughter were great dining companions.
The dinner (sans wine) was $75. I think this is the biggest "bargain" in dining in LA right now.
Selfishly... admittedly, I didn't post this until Mr. Gold put out his review because I was hoping to keep this a secret a little longer. But I have my reservation for the end of July.
July is Pork Month.
641 N Highland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036