Two weeks after Mozza’s newest restaurant, Chi Spacca, opened its doors, the house-cured, two-year aged Prosciutto di Los Angeles sold out. Now, Angelenos have to wait a year for the next batch, two legs currently curing at the Melrose and Highland space. The popularity of the salumeria, the city's first certified dry-cure program, is a result of years of trial and error from chef Chad Colby.
Colby perfected his cured meats during Mozza's weekly Salumi Nights, which has grown into its permanent dinner-only restaurant. And Chi Spacca is a gloriously simple restaurant. Bearing aesthetic similarities to its next-door sibling Osteria Mozza, the uncomplicated menu and space are less ambitious, but just as tasteful. The cozy, 30-seat dining room is presided over by an open kitchen where Colby plates his perfected cured meats and fires meats from the olive wood-powered hearth.
Wonderful oxtail-like, braised lamb neck ($27), sitting in a deeply-flavored puddle of its own braising jus, is soft enough to cut with a spoon and could convert any vegetarian to the meat-centric menu. Adventurous diners will want to try the beef and bone marrow pot pie ($37) and porchetta ($74)—Colby’s version serves four and is made with unctuous, whole duck rolled in spices.
Chi Spacca could easily be the city’s most appealing (and most popular) date spot of the moment—its comfortable, dimly lit room and prompt service will appeal to many. It’s no surprise then that tables book up a month in advance. But the best kept secret: Walk-in diners can sit at the kitchen bar and be served by Colby personally, perhaps a better deal altogether.
What to eat: It's imperative to start the meal with chef Colby’s house-cured salumi. While the 24-month Prosciutto is sold out, don’t pass on the beautifully marbled capocollo (aka coppa), what your server will refer to as "pork butter." Better yet, sample house charcuterie via the affettato misti ($24).
Where to sit: With only two dinner turns of 30 seats per night (Mon-Fri 6pm, 8:15pm), reserve up to one month in advance. For the best view (and perhaps best service), sit on stools around the open kitchen, reserved for walk-ins.
What to drink: Chi Spacca's 10-bottle wine list changes daily. Mozza’s wine somm Eduardo Bolanos can steer you towards a more esoteric recommendation or lead your through an omakase-style wine pairing.
Conversation piece: For years, chef and co-owner Nancy Silverton used the dining room as a private event space for weekly, ingredient-themed dinners. These meals continue on Saturday nights (7:30pm seating) as family-style, nose-to-tail feasts by reservation only.