We went back to Osteria Mozza last week. This most recent visit confirmed my opinion that the kitchen isn't yet operating on all cylinders.
The mozza bar is where it's happening: Brilliant presentations, ultra high quality ingredients -- absolutely state-of-the-art. It's similar to the mozzarella menu at Jar, but refined and sharper. I think Jonathan Gold's comparison to sashimi is spot-on.
Unfortunately, the pasta and meat dishes simply weren't up to the high standard set by Batali. The orecchiette were drowning in their pan sauce. The linguine was a assemblage of gummy pasta, flavorless clams and chiles. Neither of the dishes had that essential quality of great pasta where the whole transcends the sum of the components. Pasta is Batali's thing. For anyone who has visited Babbo or Lupa, you'll know what I'm talking about. I really missed his touch here.
On to the meat: The grilled lamb chops were heated through, browned on the outside, but somehow still raw-tasting. The roast pork seems to have been brined which I see as an unnecessary crutch. In both dishes, the fat had barely melted. This isn't a creative choice; it's just plain wrong.
So much about Osteria Mozza is right: The space is exciting, the menu is smart, the anitipasti are fantastic. They just need to get their act together in the kitchen -- and they will. I'm sure of it.
Right now, I'd have to recommend Angelini, La Terza or even Vincenti over Osteria Mozza for pasta and meat dishes. Even the sycophantic J. Gold concedes there are problems when he talks about "the restaurant Mozza will eventually become."