For such a small place, the menu was all-encompassing, if not smothering. They offered over 15 types of pizzas, and five types of “hand-made” pasta, plus gnocchi, and 10 sauces for the diner to choose from. There were also appetizers, salads, and a few secondi, and then another half dozen daily specials. I had no hope that the tiny kitchen could pull all of this off.
To start, we split the "jijo" pizza with mozzarella, speck, walnuts and truffle oil. The speck itself was good, but then again it was pork. The dough itself was bland and had the texture of a thick tortilla. I knew then that this would be the last time I drove past Mozza for a pizza inferior to those in the Trader Joe’s frozen food section. (Silverton’s pizzas are better now than those at Otto in my estimation, but still a far cry from Una Pizza Napoletana.) We followed with two forgettable pastas: trenette with amatriciana and trenette with a "fumé" sauce that was
tomato-and-cream-based and included onions, bacon, oregano, and scamorza cheese. The trenette was soggy, and the amatriciana had no taste and looked like what I imagine Chef Boyardee sauce to look like: watery and red with lots of miniature cubes of bacon. The cream sauce was more successful but only because there was a minimal, if trifling engagement of the gustatory sense.
In the positive column, the bread was warm when served.
In the end, Osteria La Buca was just a simulacrum of an Italian restaurant with marginal charm and bad food. We will certainly honor our friend’s friend's request not to recommend Osteria La Buca to others.
Osteria La Buca
5210.5 Melrose Ave.