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Osteria Mozza tasting menu snafu+fix

nater | Jun 7, 200807:43 PM

I went with five friends last night (Friday) and had a great time at Osteria Mozza. We were all excited about ordering the pasta tasting menu, but had what I thought might be a show-stopping problem: one of us is vegan (no animal products of any kind).

Knowing that this would likely be a tough thing for the restaurant to deal with on the spot, I called the restaurant on Tuesday morning to see if there was anything they could do.

The first two people I spoke with definitely made it sound like a bit of a lost cause, stressing that the normal menu would (obviously) be difficult to adapt for a vegan, and they are generally very strict about the (quite sensible) entire-table rule for the tasting menu.

However, on Thursday a manager left me a message saying that it is very unusual for them to make an exception, but they would be able to serve five people the regular tasting menu, and adapt a few a-la cart dishes for the vegan guest and try to time them with the tasting menu as best they could. He again stressed that this was unusual.

Suffice to say, we were all quite excited.

We arrived a few minutes early for our 9:15pm reservation, and while the bar service was a little slow and we weren't seated until 9:45, our past experiences at the Pizzeria & (especially) Comme Ca had prepared us for this. A bottle of Prosecco helps a lot too.

When we were seated I spoke to our friendly waiter about the arrangements we had made, and he brought over a manager who was very patient and kind but wasn't aware of the calls (the other manager was apparently the one who left the message). He spoke to the kitchen (a few times, actually) and all results were negative. We were all disappointed (and my vegan pal was, I fear, feeling a little bit like a spoiler). We set about ordering wine (our waiter had excellent advice, centering us on a 1999 Barbaresco) and finding a-la cart dishes.

But then, by luck: our intrepid manager returns with good news! The chef relented and gave the okay for five tasting menus and a few ad-hoc vegan dishes.

The food was incredible, (we had the same menu posted about here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/520605 ) and the wine pairings were really, really excellent in that the wine was all interesting and very thoughtfully matched the food. The Edi Simcic Chardonnay paired with the tortellini was especially memorable.

As dinner wound down we had another bottle of prosecco and ended up being the last group there (our first course didn't arrive until well after 10:30pm, we left at 1:30am.)

All in all a very nice night out. The start was a bit wobbly but the front-of-house staff handled a prickly situation with compassion, grace, and patience, which are really all anyone can ask for.

However, I would advise anyone thinking of asking for a favor w/r/t the tasting menu to perhaps be happy just ordering a la cart, which I think would be very enjoyable on its own!

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