If you are enough of a meathead to have made the pilgrimage to Panzano, home to Dario Cecchini, the mad butcher of Chianti, you probably have at least entertained the thought of visiting Officina della Bistecca, the weekend restaurant above the butcher shop where you eat meat, meat and more meat, and when you are full to bursting, a bit of the famous Fiorentina, a steak that is to ordinary porterhouses what a canto of Dante's Inferno is to the chorus of “Volare.'' When you leave, the meat oozes from every pore.

Mangiare in Famiglia, held Friday nights at the Scuola di Pizza sandwiched between Osteria Mozza and Mozza2Go, is Nancy Silverton's version of the Officina della Bistecca, big, family-style dinners held around the dining room's long table, all flowing wine and surreal conversation, an ongoing dinner party that requires only a reservation (and $75 per person) to join.

Last week, there was pinzimonio — raw vegetables — with the anchovy dip called bagna cauda, a kind of hand-chopped beef tartare with slivered artichokes, and a few of the olive-studded focaccia, as oily and delicious as they are in Matera, that Mozza cognoscenti know are normally served only from the takeout counter and then only on Monday nights.

There were enormous platters of Roman-style stewed oxtail with celery, as big around as Ionian columns. And then out comes the Fiorentina, not as breathtaking as Dario's perhaps, but magnificent just the same, needing (but really not needing) only a drip of olive oil and a few grains of salt for completion. This is where the standard disclaimer comes in — Silverton is a family friend; feel free to ignore anything I say about her — but this is one of the most interesting pop-up restaurants of the year.

MOZZA2GO: 6610 Melrose Ave., L.A., mozza2go.com. Call (323) 297-1133 for reservations.


LA Weekly