There's a reason Osteria Mozza is the hardest reservation to get in town right now: It's fantastic. There it is, we said it. Friday night a few of us took over a corner of the bar and watched Nancy Silverton and her crew create cheese plates like stracciatella with celery and herb salad (our fave from Mozzarella Mondays), and burrata with brown butter and guanciale. We ate grilled octopus as buttery as a summertime poached lobster. Crispy pigs trotter. A ravioli filled with fresh ricotta and a runny egg. The room wasn't full when we got there around 6:30pm, which will probably never happen again. Dare we say: Completely worth the hype.
It's a gorgeous space. High ceilings, black wood tables and chairs, pale green walls, crisp linens. Very New York. The marble bar in the center of the room is all Nancy, a perfect showcase for her beautifully plated dishes . Her fans love it. There's another bar and two standing bars in front of it, all accessible for walk-in dining. The most amazing thing---critics take note---the sound level isn't obnoxious like next door. We could hear the tone of conversation all around us, but we couldn't hear our neighbors. And we didn't have to raise our voice to get above the sound once. Every now and then Led Zeppelin or the Beatles wove their way around our conversation, but they were never intrusive. More like subtle visits.
Mario was in the house in all his pink glory, watching the room unfold before he sat for dinner with his family. There's no doubt his kids idolize him: One had long shorts and orange Crocs on, just like Dad. Joe Bastianich made a late appearance and surveyed the scene. They all greeted friends, but didn't schmooze with everyone a la Wolfgang Puck. However Mario did agree to a picture with a *gasp* food blogger. He must've been in a good mood.
We spotted Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian with a few friends, and Justin Kirk (Weeds) walking through the room. But our biggest celeb spotting of the night: Tom Colicchio, whose Craft debuted in Century City the same exact night, was partying late night in a private room next door. With all the windows open and the group yelling "Mario! Mario!", we couldn't help but snap a picture when we drove by---twice.
Find more on Eater's obsession with Osteria Mozza here.