Each week we present our most delicious bite. This week, the ‘Bavette, cacio e pepe’ at Osteria Mozza in Los Angeles, California.
One of Anthony Bourdain’s final episodes of “No Reservations” found him cursing his way through Italy, where he naturally proclaimed the cacio e pepe one of those wondrous dishes that no American has, or will ever properly replicate. As I watched the program, it occurred to me that, with the thousands of pasta dishes that I have devoured throughout the years, I don’t believe that I have ever ordered this particular dish in a restaurant. It always sounded too simplistic, and is oddly always priced similarly to options gilded with much more expensive ingredients.
Arriving for a charity event on a recent Saturday night, I found myself driving past Osteria Mozza with two hours to spare. It was surely the amateur move to believe that I would snag a seat here on a busy weekend night without a reservation. Alas, the gods smiled upon me, and the hostess immediately lead me to a single open seat at the “cheese bar” and a birds eye view of the room in full throttle.
My fingers ran down the menu and to my delight, there it was…the very first item on the list of PRIMI - Bavette, cacio e pepe. I was almost led to believe that the server was gently dissuading me, inquiring politely if I had ever enjoyed this particular dish before and describing as extremely spicy and peppery. ”I’ll have it,” I barked! “And a nice red. What do you recommend?”
I shall spare you, gentle reader, the overwrought adjectives. Instead, I will encourage you to drive immediately to the corner of Highland and Melrose Avenues. Order only this dish, preferably with a rich and decadently expensive red wine, a simple task as all of the wines at Osteria Mozza are decadently expensive. You will savor every drop of wine. You will eat every bite of pasta. You will boorishly clean the plate with a piece of bread. You will smile. And then, you will thank me.
Surely, Mr. Bourdain was mistaken.
That is all.