B&B Ristorante at the Venetian

IMG_3179

You know you’re in Vegas when Mario Batali is more powerful than Caesar himself. Seriously, look at this! You turn a corner and there he is, waiting for you, with a pair of his orange Crocs!

Good thing that all his restaurants are pretty legit; otherwise Maya and I would be picking up an overpriced Chinese food at a food court at some sorry mall. And this place lived up to the reputation of Babbo of the West.

Appetizers: Complimentary chickpeas on toast, Warm Lamb’s Tongue, and Grilled Octopus.

Main Course: Seafood pasta and roasted Brussel sprouts

Dessert:  Spiced Almond “Tronchetto”and I forgot the name of the other one 😛

B&B Ristorante
At the Venetian

Advertisements

My Favorite NYC Moments #2: Lunch at Babbo

IMG_9326

Time to check off an item from my culinary bucket list – I finally made it to Mario Batali’s Babbo Ristorante in Greenwich Village. Yipeee!

IMG_9325

When we arrived at the restaurant at 11:00 a.m., right at my reserved time, the restaurant was still closed. Strange, I thought. How could a restaurant be closed when I, in fact, made a reservation for that time slot more than a month ago? When the door finally opened 30 minutes later, I went to check in, only to find that my name was nowhere to be found. After a few tries, the hostess figured out that my reservation was not for 11:00 a.m. but was for 11:00 P.Meek Only in NYC that people actually make dinner reservation so late.

Luckily, she was able to seat us right away!  Phew!

The restaurant was everything I’d expected this place would be — a professional service, attentive servers, and absolutely delicious food and wine.

IMG_9318

Complimentary chick pea appetizer.

IMG_9319

My appetizer: Crostini Napoletani with Ricotta, Sardines and Dandelion Greens

IMG_9320

Maya’s appetizer: Mozzarella di Bufala with Babbo Coppa

IMG_9322

I ordered Pappardelle Bolognese.

IMG_9323

Maya ordered Soft Shell Crab on a bed of couscous.

IMG_9324

We shared a plate Babbo Greens with Roasted Shallots — a much needed vegetables!

IMG_9331

Pistachio and Chocolate Semifreddo for dessert.

sugar

Maya enjoyed a glass of port (Pedro Ximenez) that she absolutely loved, and I couldn’t get over all the sugar options that came with my cup of coffee.

Here’s the full list of my top 10 moments:

  1. Dinner at Villard Michel Richard
  2. Lunch at Babbo
  3. Picnic at Central Park
  4. Serendipity 3
  5. Lunch at Balthazar
  6. Grand Central Oyster Bar
  7. Gahm Mi Oak
  8. Dominique Ansel Bakery
  9. La Vie at JFK
  10. Bryant Park at night

Mozza Fever

Here’s what I ate today …

Breakfast: It’s so difficult for me to eat breakfast so my sister, caring for my body, gave me a box of Special K cereal for Christmas. She said that it’s better to eat this than nothing at all … so I had a bowl with almond milk this morning. I probably won’t be able to eat eggs and potatoes for breakfast, but I can certainly eat this. It’s pretty darn good. Thanks, sis!

Lunch: A bowl of white rice, topped with several different kinds of kimchi that I picked up from a local Korean supermarket: squid, cucumber, and root vegetable … and seaweed salad.

Also had leftover from last week’s Christmas dinner: A slice of turkey breast, green bean casserole, stuffing, and cauliflower salad.

Dinner: Dinner at Tiffany’s, with Shannon and Roya, for a girls’ night in. We cooked up (I actually read the ingredients and instructions out loud as Tiffany and Shannon cooked in the kitchen) dishes from The Mozza Cookbook: Tricolor Salad (with arugula, endives, and radicchio, tossed in Caser-inspired dressing), mussels (with homemade garlic mayonnaise), and crostini. We are crazy about Osteria Mozza and Pizzeria Mozza, so needless to say, this was a fantastic night.

Not pictured: Fubuki manju (Japanese sweets) after lunch, banana bread (baked by Shannon) before dinner, and 2 glasses of red wine with dinner.

Batali and Silverton Reign Supreme: Osteria Mozza

mozza-exteriorI have always known that he cooked great, authentic Italian meals, but I was never a huge fan of Mario Batali (of Motto Mario and more famously, Iron Chef America on Food Network).  But after experiencing the mouthwatering dishes at his restaurant, Osteria Mozza, I was ready to put on a pair of orange Crocks and join his fan club.

Osteria Mozza is one half of Batali’s joint venture with the master bread maker Nancy Silverton of the popular  La Brea Bakery (aka my Goddess), and is a more fancy and upscale eatery to its counterpart, Pizzeria Mozza, located next door. Of all the celebrity chef-owned restaurants that I’ve been to in Los Angeles and Vegas (Emeril’s Seafood, Delmonico, Spago, Nobu, and the usual), this was, hands down, the most impressive. All the bourgeois elements where there – the glitz and glamour, fancy zip code, stylish decor, a valet parking that costs my entire paycheck – but one thig that was missing from Osteria Mozza, and gratefully so, was the pretentiousness that’s usually attached to LA hot spots. The service here was down-to-earth and very friendly, and our server blessed us with great recommendations that certainly hit the hungry spot for all of us.

We were seated in a little room in the back of the restaurant which reminded me of a cozy Bed and Breakfast you can find somewhere in a little town in England. We were the first group to arrive but were surprise to see the tables fill up quickly with patrons of all kinds – the young, the old, the casual, the suit-and-ties.

The menus were a bit confusing because they were pretty much all written in Italian but our server lady helped us decided on a wonderful bottle of red, appetizers to share, primi and secondi for all three of us, and of course, desserts.

While we waited for our first dish to arrive, another friendly server brought us a complementary plate of crostini with fresh goat cheese and olive tapenade which showed great promised to how the night’s dining experience would turn out.

mozza-tapenada

Mozzarella tasting: burrata, fior latte & bufala mozzarella
My goodness – who knew that there were so much depth and complexity in mozzarella cheese? Each cheese was so different in texture, flavor, and the way it melts in your month.  One even tasted like fresh, silky and buttery tofu that I ate in Japan (which tastes nothing like the ones you buy at a supermarket here). This dish demonstrated the pride Batali has in cheeses, and these little balls, accompanied by Silverton’s out-of-this-world toasts, made us crave for more.

mozza-mozerella

mozza-toast

Grilled Octopus with potatoes, celery & lemon
Please excuse the cliché, but this grilled octopus really tasted like chicken. But not one of those cardboard chickens, this tasted like a wonderfully grilled poultry that falls apart perfectly in your mouth. The celery and lemon added a refreshing touch to this northern Italian staple.

mozza-octupus

Fresh Ricotta & Egg Raviolo with browned butter
This is not your ordinary ravioli in browned butter. Check this out – there’s an egg yolk in the middle that greets you on the first bite!

mozza-pasta

mozza-pasta-with-eggs

Beef Brasatowith polenta & horseradish gremolata
We all expected this dish to be slightly sweet but that wasn’t the case. It was simple and more on a bland side but the sprinkle of horseradish coupled with grainy polenta made this dish memorable. Yes, you caught me, I ate a little bit of meat, but it was worth every bite.

mozza-meat

Tortellini e brodo
Sorry, I forgot what this dish was called but I hope this is the correct name.  These little tortellinis were filled with blend of sweet meats. Don’t worry, single order is not this tiny – the server lady was kind enough to split the dish into three separate plates.

mozza-ravioli

Torta della Nonna with honey & pine nuts
Just talking about this dessert makes me squeal in delight. The torta was fluffy and surprisingly light, and these three different kinds of honey were so unbelievable that I had to try really hard to restrain myself from licking the plate.

mozza-tortas

Almond Cornette with tangerine and blood orange compote & yogurt gelato
The blood orange compote and yogurt gelato were so refreshing, they were the perfect end to our wonderful night of great wine, delicious food and a wonderful company.

mozza-006

Osteria Mozza
641 N. Highland Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036
★★★★★