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Oct 14, 2006 09:26 PM

Caioti Pizza Cafe review

Went to Caioti Pizza Cafe in Studio City for lunch today. I had read some of the previous reports, I knew that Ed Caioti was responsible for putting Wolfgang Puck on the pizza map, and decided to find out for myself what his pizza was like. Before I went there, I browsed his web sight. I invite your attention to what he has to say about pizza in the section call “About the Craft,” some of which I agree with, some I don’t.

The cafe has no ambience whatsoever, 10 tables, 2 counter stools, and a terrible floor. I ordered the simplest item on the menu so my taste buds would not be distracted by any toppings, just a plain cheese and tomato sauce 10” pie, but I did specify mozzerella latte, which is fresh cow’s milk mozz, rather than the mozz on the menu, which is skimmed milk mozz. In between my ordering and the delivery, I struck up a conversation with Ed, told him of my passion for pizza, told him I was aware of his background, and we talked about NY pizza. He told me he wished that we had had this conversation before I placed my order so that he personally could have made my pie, and made it NY Neopolitan style. I told him I would return just for that experience. He gave me his card with his phone number since he is not there all the time, and told me to call before I came so that he would be sure to be there. Now for the pie. It came to my table in 6 slices, very white mozz chunks melted and melded into a nice red sauce. The crust had a very small raised edge, and the reason for this is covered in his “About the Craft” essay on his web site. No charring or bubbles on the pie. Gas oven pie. I picked up the pie and inhaled - very nice aroma. I picked up a slice and ate it. I liked the sauce very much, tangy, not runny, with just the right amount of mozz. I thought the crust was awful - did not come close to what I think a good crust is. It was worse than ordinary, worse than slice places I have been to here. I am going to go back to see if there is a difference if he makes the pie. I asked him if he would be making a special dough, and he said no, it’s all in the hands of the pieman. I don't buy that, but I'm willing to be proven wrong. So, if it’s toppings you want, I would give it a try, because that is what he is famous for, but for just a simple pie, no no. Still waiting for Nancy to open

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  1. you definantly made a mistake getting a plain cheese.
    you can't expect anything great if you are ordering a simple pizza.

    go back and try the salsiccia. it has italian sausage, pine nuts, gorgonzola and all that good stuff.

    he is also known for the bbq pizza. if i remember correctly he was the one that started it.

    1. Believe it or not, even though this is a pizza place, some of the best stuff on the menu isn't pizza.
      The "the salad" is really good as is their Roast Beef entree. You should check out more than just the pizza. Also, even though the place has no aesthetic, it also has no corkage fee!

      1. He's Ed La Dou, not Ed Caioti, and he invented the California style pizza at Spago -- ie, Barbecue Chicken pizza, etc, which CPK later copped. If you are slamming La Dou's restaurant because it's not a Bleecker Street slice you're completely missing the point...and don't you think the diss is a bit extraordinary, considering he's willing to come in just to make a NY style pie for you!? Sheesh, just when you think you've seen the high-water mark for LA gall...or is that NY gall?

        Anyway, it's a neighborhood pizza joint. Dirt cheap, great pizza (to my taste) free corkage, warm service. What pizza joints that you patronize have better ambiance?

        While some hounds will know that the "The" Salad bodie mentions is fabled to induce labor in past-due pregnant women, not many will know that there is a large collection of scrapbooks on the counter filled with notes, cards, baby pictures, dedications and prayers from hopeful (and grateful) parents. You can read them while you eat your pizza, but they're so uniformly moving you might well find yourself crying. Those scrapbooks are probably my favorite hidden secret of any restaurant in Los Angeles.

        But nevermind, everything in NY is better.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Alimentary My Dear Watson

          In all fairness, the food should be good no matter when you walk in or who's in the kitchen. If you have to strike up a personal relationship with the owner in order to get something decent, it's not worth recommending to the rest of the city, I think.

          And I'm with Pizzafreak on the notion that the plain cheese pie is the test of the kitchen. If they can't do that correctly (insert one's own highly subjective definition of "correctly" here), then it doesn't matter to me if the one piled up with a gazillion toppings is terrific. Enough toppings can hide any pizza's failings. After all, one does not evaluate fine tequila by mixing up margaritas, right?

          I will concede, however, that Caioti is reputed to be the apotheosis of "Calfornia-style" pizza, and perhaps I need to get used to the idea that CA-style pizza doesn't come in a basic cheese-and-sauce model.

        2. You told us that the crust was awful. What about it was awful? That you do not tell us. I love his crust, it is so much more complex than CPK. He was the original Pizza Chef at Spago and Nancy was the original Pastry Chef. They did not invent anything, they just collaborated with Wolfgang Puck to make excellent innovative food that tastes great. Ed LaDou is a genuinely nice guy. I have had many pies there but never tomato and cheese. His strength is in the special combinations of toppings and that wonderful sourdough crust.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Just Larry

            It had no taste, it was uniformly thick, I couldn't fold the slice and put it in my mouth like I am used to, and it just didn't fit with the sauce which I liked very much. And yes, Ed really is a nice guy. He didn't have to offer to make a special pie for me. I did say that if you are into toppings give it a try, but that's not what I was looking for, and until I read you post I was unaware that the crust was sourdough. I'm sure that's why I didn't like it.

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