The motto at Mozzarella Home-Style Italian Cooking is “here you eat like at home,” but unless you make your own pasta and roast lamb shanks overnight, you are best off eating at this Doral restaurant, tucked in a strip mall off the Palmetto.
At the helm are Jose Vinaz and wife Rossella Boccitto, who share the cooking while Jose’s son Francisco runs the front. There are daily specials: meatballs on Monday, baked chicken with lemon and tarragon on Tuesday, and slow roasted pork with white wine, fennel and garlic on Wednesday. There’s always homemade linguine with seafood, grilled baby lamb chops marinated in garlic and rosemary and risotto of the day (mushroom, fine herb, pumpkin or four cheese).
Jose is Venezuelan and worked most of his life as an art director in advertising. Rossella is from Rome and came to Venezuela in 1979 with her family, who own a construction company. The two met eight years ago at an anti-Chavez protest, married and came to Miami five years ago to start a new life.
Both loved to cook, so they opened a takeout pasta place. Customers wanted a sit-down restaurant, so they expanded, adding a corner nook with a library of cookbooks for browsing.
Start with burrata and prosciutto on baby greens or soup of the day. Daily specials include salmon with béarnaise sauce (Wednesday), grilled duck breast with raspberry sauce (Thursday) and chicken Milanese (Friday). On Saturday, there’s braised beef short ribs in dark gravy made from a puree of sautéed onions and fennel with Malta, red wine and Worcestershire sauce.
Cioppino (fisherman’s stew) is always on the menu, bringing a bowl of deep, briny soup based on broth made from fish heads with bay leaves, celery and tomatoes brimming with mussels, shrimp, squid and small scallops. Select a type of pasta and pair it with a sauce. Sauces include Napoli with fresh mozzarella and norcina, a creamy emulsion from Umbria made here with mascarpone cheese, white wine and crumbled Italian sausage. Everything here including the chocolate tiramisu is made with love.