Friday, October 17, 2008

Pizzeria Mozza (Los Angeles)

Pizza Pizza Pizza! Mama Mia it's hard to get good pizza this day and age! Not just well made pizza but pizza that is filled with inspiration and creativity. Sausage this, pepperoni that, it's all the same! Slap on an Italian sounding name and the masses will swarm to any tomato sauce out of a can pizza joint.

But Nancy Silverton, Mario Batali and Joseph Bastianich thought of something different, they wanted great pizza with fresh ingredients and compelling combination. They opened Pizzeria Mozza, probably the hardest pizzaria to make a reservation at in the 48 continental states.

Call: put on hold, there's actually a recorded voice that tells you what place in line you are (oddly enough.. our whole dinner there I never saw them pick up the phone more than once... leads me to believe it's fake?)
Call answered: I ask for 3 different dates and I was told "we are fully committed that evening." Finally I told them tell me what day you AREN'T committed and they booked us a table.

After an agonizing week of waiting to eat at Pizza Mozza the day finally arrived!
Stepping into the restaurant I understand why it was so packed. It's a pretty small restaurant, you have two bar seating areas and about 15 tables for guests.

The eating partner and I eat relatively fast while the people around us... woo they ate dessert longer than we ate our whole meal.

The pizza is cooked in a big open wood fire oven, those white hats in the back are popping in and out pizzas at a record pace.

We decided to start off our meal with a little appetizer. White beans alla Toscana with extra virgin olive oil & saba.

The white beans are grinded to a soft almost creamy consistency. The beans are meaty and rich in flavor which amps up even more with the great olive oil they pour liberally over the beans.

After we stuffed ourselves with bread and beans we ordered two very different pizzas to share. First off, the pizzas made with a thin bottom and a nice fluffy but crispy crust. So the pizza is not doughy but it has enough substance where the ingredients don't overwhelm the pizza.

First up, Tomato, mozzarella, sausage, salami, bacon & guanciale

Oily, fatty, decadent, concentrated meat flavor. All the meat was so flavorful, especially the guanciale which is essentially an unsmoked bacon. It's a very salty and mouth coating meat, the saltiness seems to give way to all the oil from the rest of the pizza. This is a meat lover's pizza on crack!

Next up Egg, guanciale, radicchio, escarole & bagna cauda

Radicchio is a spicy almost bitter Italian leaf (the purple and green you see there) almost like arugala but with more of a bitter aftertaste. Escarole is just endive, also a slightly bitter leafy green. Now you're probably asking .. this pizza just sounds horrible so far. Never fear my dear readers, the rest of the ingredients make it work well together.

The bagna cauda is a sauce of garlic, anchovy , and olive oil, these ingredients are very anti-bitter. In addition the uncured salted ham with a slightly cooked egg try their best to reign in the bitter greens. So you get an epic battle in your mouth. Occasionally you get a bit of a more "bitter" bite... I think this problem could have been easily cured if they put more uncured ham (hehe)... if there's one big knock on this restaurant it's the lack of meat on a near $20 pizza.

Is this place everything people hype it up to be? Sure. Where else do you have pizza with very traditional (yet exotic) Italian ingredients? It's an adventure worth stopping in at least once.

Pizzeria Mozza
641 N. Highland Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90036



Mike said...

I had been longing to go here for so long and finally got my chance earlier this year as a surprise from my girlfriend.

We had the fried squash blossoms to start. I couldn't forgo ordering them after all the hubbub I had heard/read about them before visiting. A squash blossom filled with ricotta cheese and lightly fried, it was a surprisingly delicate, rich, and greasy bite. I'd recommend those if you see them on the menu on a return visit, as they do come and go depending on the blossom availability.

For pizzas we split the fennel sausage and the white bianca. The sausage was very good but was completely blown out of the water by the bianca.

I'd never considered that eating pizza could cause a person to actually see God, but I saw God in that pizza. Amazing! Go back and order the Bianca and say hello to heaven for me.

Charlie Fu said...

Mike: Wow! I wish we ordered the squash blossoms! I don't remember seeing them on the menu, but when I do i will definitely order it.

It's pretty good pizza!

cellar rat said...

Charlie, love the pics and writeups. Glad I stumbled onto this site. You need to review some places in Northern Cali too. :)

Charlie Fu said...

Ray: Hey Ray! Good to have you here =). I occasionally do Northern Californian restaurants, my girlfriend goes to Berkeley so i'm up there quite often!

I just did a little post on Ad Hoc not too long ago!

avid reader said...

Love the new layout! Cleaner & crisper. Keep up the great writing!

cellar rat said...

I'll check out the review. Keep eating Charlie, really enjoying the site. And the layout is truly professional

Little Miss Contrary said...

Hey, Clayfu. How long in advance did you make the reservation? If I call 2 to 2 1/2 weeks in advance, would that be too late? My boyfriend's favorite food group is pizza so for his birthday I got us tickets to a Clippers/Warriors game up there and eating at Pizza Mozza would be a perfect birthday meal! By the way, he and I had dinner at Roseville last Friday, and it was wonderful--thanks for such a fantastic review and recommendation!

Charlie Fu said...

LMC: Glad to hear you liked Roseville! =).

Um... I couldn't tell you how long beforehand you'll have to reserve, it could be anywhere between 2-3 weeks or even a week depending on what day. I'd suggest you call them asap!

Anonymous said...

stop eating you are fat.