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Week in Reviews: High Praise for Osteria Mozza, Plus Amarone, Amaranta, Tagine and More Elsewhere

You knew it was coming: S. Irene Virbila fawns over Osteria Mozza, as she did with Pizzeria Mozza, B&B Ristorante in Vegas and years ago for Campanile. Do you see where we're going with this? This devoted fan of Nancy Silverton and Mario Batali would never dream of lavishing less than three stars on any of their restaurants. And very little goes wrong with the Silverton/Batali Osteria: Maybe a bit too much butter on a couple pasta dishes, some tepid lamb chops, or the brusque pace set by the army of waiters. The most surprising of all, loud restaurants are suddenly "in." Osteria Mozza, people, is the cat's meow:

OK, OK, if anyone is expecting the pomp and circumstance of Valentino, he or she is going to be sorely disappointed. Osteria Mozza is casual and very, very loud. The soundtrack is pure, old-school rock 'n' roll. But with its high energy and high spirits, the osteria is also more fun than any other Italian place in town (with the exception of Pizzeria Mozza next door).
...which she also gave three stars to, and it's much more casual. Giving the restaurant a little more time to get its act together than most places she reviews (she says Osteria has been open for four months, but it's actually three-and-a-half (the doors opened on Friday, July 13), there's no doubt it would garner all her praise. Osteria Mozza gets the requisite three stars. Today, the "S." stands for "sure thing."

ELSEWHERE: Linda Burum finds (but doesn't try) 375 tequilas at Amaranta Cocina Mexicana in the Valley; The Knife finds and likes Amarone Kitchen + Wine in WeHo; Eating L.A.'s at San Gabriel's Vietnam House; the seven-course feast at Tagine is decent, but too many service mishaps; Eddie Lin feels he needs balls, so he eats them at Alcazar in Encino; and late-night bites at e3rd Steakhouse.