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Osteria Mozza Showdown: J. Gold vs. Miss Irene

For the second week in a row we have head-to-head First Bite/Critic's Notebook reviews from Jonathan Gold and S. Irene Virbila, this time for Osteria Mozza. Our suspicion that the two have been dining together were quashed, but they still wave to each other from across the room (er..maybe not). The general consensus: Near perfect now, but you better get those reservations fast.

From Gold: Nancy Silverton is a 'hedgehog' who makes "almost sashimi-like constructions" with fresh mozzarella, reservations are as hard to get now as Lakers' floor seats, and it's already "extraordinary" but it will be truly amazing in a couple years. Favorite moment: "The standard disclaimer applies: Nancy is a longtime family friend and she co-wrote a book with my wife. You are free to discount any of my opinions, as foolish as you would be to do so."

From Miss Irene: The cheese bar and Nancy Silverton's offerings are divine, the pastas are rich and "heavily sauced," the service is impressive, and "it's pretty good." By the way, that's Mario Batali in the orange Crocs in case you didn't know. Favorite moment: "Anybody who managed to snag one the first couple of weeks has bragging rights in spades -- and the patience (or that of a dogged assistant) to dial the number again and again, only to hear that the only tables available are at the uncovetable hours of 5:30 or 11:15. That's p.m. I can't think of a time I've ever been offered a table at that hour in Los Angeles. For the rest of us, that was when the Pizzeria opened?
· The Big Idea: Osteria Mozza [LA Weekly]
· Osteria Mozza just might be worth the wait [LAT]
· Craft Showdown: Jonathan Gold vs. Miss Irene [~ELA~]

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