Tuscany has many reasons to boast, Opera was invented in Florence. The Florentines were the driving force behind the Age of Discovery. It was a map drawn by the Florentine Paulo del Pozzo Toscanelli, which Columbus used on his first voyage. So why is this cornbread raised southern boy boasting about Tuscany? Because of what Chef Matthew Antonovich and Michael Cooper have brought to the River City. MOZZ, (pronounced Mott’s) Mozzarella Bar and Enoteca, 445 East Market in the NULU district of Louisville.
For my tastes this restaurant is a picture of restrained perfection. It’s elegant and delicious without the stuffy or overwrought atmosphere at some of the high-end dining that has opened in Louisville in the last couple of years (you fill in that blank).
From the Flame Run Gallery custom made lighting fixtures, to the leather booths and red, black and chrome decor, MOZZ impresses. And while there are many savory and scrumptious things on the menu, my mission here is celebrate the BISTECCA “ALLA FIORENTINA”.
This selection is the National Meal of Tuscany, and sometimes it seemed enough to feed the entire region. Its centerpiece is a Prime Porterhouse. A succulent and spectacularly marbled piece of beef seasoned with garlic cloves, sea salt & smoked pepper, cooked perfectly, sliced and served table side for two or four people (we had 4).
But before you get to this “meat candy”, you’ll discover that this one meal is a great way to sample the restaurant because it includes so many of MOZZ’s specialties, rolled into one dinner.
It starts with the Cheese Trio, with three condiments, from the Mozzarella Bar. Splendid is not enough to describe this starter. The Mozzarella is made fresh, and you WILL taste the difference.
SPAGHETTI ALLA CHITTARA & MEATBALLS is next and is made with San Marzano Pomarola Sauce, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and Basil. It’s a wonderfully simple and flavorful dish. Plus, the richly seasoned meatballs are the size of tennis balls.
A highlight for me was the POLENTA “AL FUNGI”, Creamy Mascarpone Polenta & Rosemary Roasted Wild Mushrooms. Locally, I find that polenta is often overcooked, but not at MOZZ. It was creamy perfection.
Full Yet? Wait. This tour de force also includes the superb TUSCAN BEANS, Cannellini White Beans with Italian Herbs, Garlic and Pecorino Romano cheese. And the meal is anchored with MOZZ ROASTED ROOTS, Roots & Vegetables marvelously prepared with Extra Virgin Olive Oil & Cherry Balsamic. The amazing part, this extraordinary meal is only $150 for four (drinks & dessert not included).
As my friends and I left the restaurant that night, we all agreed it was simply our best meal of the year, so far. MOZZ is Louisville dining at its finest.