Sunday, October 3, 2010

Preview Lunch at Obikà Mozzarella Bar

How much love does Los Angeles have for mozzarella?
First there was Mozzarella Mondays at Jar. Then there was mozzarella tastings and bar at Osteria Mozza. Now welcome Obikà, a mozzarella-centric new restaurant in the Westfield Century City mall.

It's not so much a place where you can try all kinds of different mozzarella from different producers, though. Obikà is a worldwide chain. I heard the Rome location offers many types of mozzarella and was the inspiration for Silverton to open Mozza. But the Century City outpost offers three types: a creamy Stracciatella di Burrata, Mozzarella Classica and Mozzarella Affumicata (smoked). There's also a ricotta and a dry ricotta, often used in the dishes. They're flown in from Italy three times a week to ensure freshness.

We first tried the cheeses by themselves, with nothing masking their flavors. They are definitely fresh. Personally, I love them this way - especially the burrata - and can eat them all day long.
You can order these with cured meats on the side.
If you need something more, you can get them rolled up with smoked salmon or cured meat.
I wished they had more mozzarella selection that I could try, but I suppose it is hard to get products from many purveyors abroad. I also wished they had done something more interesting with the cheese, as Nancy Silverton does at Mozza (burrata with mustard breadcrumbs?)

In their selection of cured meat I was really happy to find culatello (what some believe to be the best cut of Parma) on the list. I haven't had culatello since Potential Gold brought it to Totoraku over a year ago.
For those more into the deep fried offerings, there are fried and breaded mozzarellas on the menu.
Besides all the mozzarella they also have cooked dishes like a sweet eggplant caponata with pine nuts.
Besides the caponata, I again wished the other dishes we tried that day were more mozzarella-centric and had used it in a more interesting way. While the pastas were good, I found their cunzato bread (their version of a healthier pizza) too thick and soggy.

Desserts like the tiramisu or the ricotta mousse with orange zest are appropriate sweet endings at this place.
While I enjoyed the fresh and high quality mozzarella I tried, I'm not sure how well they will do banking on just five cheeses when Osteria Mozza currently carries eight.

It's certainly a welcome addition to the Century City mall. I like the mozzarella they do offer, and I'd certainly return for their culatello, but they may have to increase their selection or elevate their current selection with unique combinations of flavors as Silverton does if they were to vie for the Mozzarella powerhouse title in this city.

Obikà Mozzarella Bar
Westfield Century City Shopping Center
10250 Santa Monica Boulevards
Los Angeles, CA 90067
310 55 OBIKA (62452)
Obikà Mozzarella Bar on Urbanspoon

Disclosure: This was a gratis tasting hosted by Obikà.


Kat and Kim

I understand how you may have had frustrations with the limited menu .... We dined at Obika in Rome, and were quite impressed with their offerings, and the sides. Our favorite was the burrata with beef carpacio & lemon

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