Silverton-Batalie duo makes hot L.A. debut with Pizzeria Mozza

Only half of a new dual-concept restaurant complex has been opened so far by famed chefs Nancy Silverton and Mario Batali, but already Pizzeria Mozza is being described as the most hard-to-get reservation in Los Angeles.

Greta expectations for the upcoming debut of the adjacent wine-focused Osteria Mozza has been raised when Los Angeles Times reviewer S. Irene Virbila gave the 60-seat Pizzeria Mozza, which opened in November, rare three-star rave describing it as “a master class in teh art of making pizza.”

The article said:  Silverton, who co-founded the acclaimed Los Angeles restaurant Campanile and created the La Brea Bakery artisinal-bread empire, has a long-established fan base in the city.  Her hands-on presence in the new pizzeria’s open kitchen explains its popularity. 

Adding to the buzz for the Mozza venture is the West Coast debut of New York chef-operator Batali.  He operates seven restaurants in Manhattan with partner Jospeh Bastianich.  

In April, Pizzeria Mozza will be joined by Osteria Mozza, which will have a separate entrance and menu.  the establishments will be mostly operated as individual restaurants linked by a common pastry kitchen.

The article said:  Batali and Bastianich have made pizzeria appearances occasionally but have described themselves as backers of Silverton, though all three are general partners. Silverton gives the New Yorkers credit for developing the fron-of-the-house systems and says that Pizzeria Mozza and Osteria Mozza share stylistic elements of Batali’s casual-dining Otto Enoteca Pizzeria in New York.

Silverton’s new concept has already revived local interest in high-end pies. 

The article said:  Silverton says she is not trying to reinvent pizza, which is only one component of the dual-restaurant concept.  Rather, she is aiming for a contemporary return to simple and delicious Italian cuisine based on high-quality ingredients.

The article said:  The pizzas are all about 12 inches wide with such toppings as wild nettles with a sheep’s milk cheese called cacio di Roma.  One version combines guanciale, an unsmoked bacon made wtih pig’s jowl or cheeks, with radicchio, bagna cauda and an egg, which is cracked on top just before baking.  The pizzas, which range in price from $9 to $17, also feature the specialty meats and cheeses that Silverton uses in other dishes, though pizzas have expanded their stature as Pizzeria Mozza’s star attractions.

The article said:  Her winter Caprese salad, $12, with buffalo mozzarella or buttery burrata cheese is drizzled with freshly made pesto and served with tomatoes that have been roasted on the vine to concentrate their flavor.  Simple plates of prosciutto di Param, salamis, and other meats and cheeses are other options and they range in price from $10 to $24.  Vegetable-focused antipasti, $8 per plate, might include cauliflower gratinate, eggplant caponata or Brussels sprouts with prosciutto and breadcrumbs.  Daily specials  such as chicked alla caciatore, $17, or lamp stracotto, $20, round out the menu along with various bruschette and panini.

The pizzeria’s average ticket per person ranges from $25 to $30 at lunch and $35 to $40 at dinner, Silverton said.  The partners raised about $2 million from investors to laungh the pizzeria/osteria complex at a longtime restaurant site at the corner of Melrose and Highland avenues near Hollywood.

The article said:  If the pizzeria’s warm welcome in Los Angeles is any indication, the osteria will be met with even more excitement from the foodie community.  Osteria Mozza will have 140 seats and a slightly higher average tab.  It  will also have a broader menu with house-made pastas and traditional entrees.  There will also be a bar area that features enoteca-style tables for quick bites.  Bastianich’s expertise in wines is expected to contribute to those offerings at the osteria.