I have enjoyed a few meals at Pizzeria Mozza, and heard great things about Osteria Mozza, and have been meaning to check it out. I did some free legal work for some friends, who wanted to take me out to thank me with a splurge dinner - Mozza came to mind and we tried it.
Four of us made a reservation for 9pm on Weds. We arrived on time, and were left to stand in the doorway until 9:20 before we were seated. No apologies. No sip of wine offered to hold us over. No amuse waiting at the table to acknowledge the delay. I guess we were just supposed to be thankful to get a table. When we were seated, the host led us half way to the table, and then made us stop and wait in the middle of the dining room because the table was not actually set. When I used to manage restaurants before I became an attorney, that host would have had his wrist smacked with a ruler and he wouldn't have made that mistake again.
We were greeted by a down to business server, She didn't engage us with the menu at all. Just asked if we were ready to order. We paused a beat too long, and she told us she was going to take another table's order and be back. As she was walking away, over her shoulder, she barked - and I'll need your whole order. Are you kidding me? $58 for a steak and if I want to order an appetizer while I look at the menu I can't do that? Strict rules to be honored with the Mozza reso I guess!
When she returned, at one point someone asked what Orata was. Miss thing walked away from the table mid conversation without any comment to the bus station. When she returned she described the fish - no comment on her momentary departure.
The wine service was awkward. I hate it when they hold the wine hostage off the table without communicating to the guests where the wine is being stored. Of course if they weren't shoving four people onto a table not bigger than a card table, there would be more room on the table to store the wine. At one point, with just about two ounces of wine in the decanter, the wine was placed in the bus station. Why not just poor the wine off, rather than stress out the host that the wine was going to be lost in the bus station?
Staff was invasive and intrusive when it came to selling us more wine and bussing my unfinished main course plate while I was mid-sentence, but oblivious to details. Sure the staff was quick with a few tricks like replacing napkins when guests got up for the restroom, but missed things like empty glassware when the table was being reset for dessert.
No one checked on us to ask how the food was - ever - in a three course meal.
Bread is not offered with butter or olive oil. Maybe that's sophisticated. I think it's pretentious. Sort of like seasoning the wine glasses with a splash of wine. Come now.
Now the food was mostly excellent. We loved the grilled octopus and all things mozzarella. My duck was overcooked and mushy/dry in the breast - I didn't finish it. Unaccpetable at this level of dining, but as a guest I certainly was not going to raise a stink, especially with the server never checking in. One of our friends was non-plussed by the linguine with clams, which was overly spicy to his palate, and very al dente.
I went in really expecting a sophisticated, excellent meal. Instead I found the trappings of 'fancy'. I found entitled, inattentive clumsy service. The space is pretty, but also crowded and inelegant.
I could go on and on.
I won't be back.
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