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Mozza's "Topping-To-Crust-To- Ratio" Is Off

I liked the flavors and selection of the pizza toppings. The crust was fantastic -- charred and thin in spots yet soft and chewy in other spots, all with great flavor. Loved the afetati misti -- the salami was just fantastic.

Pizza is super personal, "One Man's Poison is Another's Staple." Some like thin, some like thick; some need more cheese, others more sauce...no one pizzeria is going to make everybody happy, and probably shouldn't even try.

For me, I think they need to make the pie diameter a tad larger, maybe one-and-a-half inches, keeping the edge width/thickness the same while increasing the volume of sauces/toppings to get a higher topping-to-crust ratio. As the pizzas are now (Version 1.0, I hope) the crust volume really overwhelms the toppings. With each slice you get one bite of topping WITH crust followed by three-to-four bites of lonely crust WITHOUT topping/sauce. It is just too bready, IMHO: kind of like basketball arena seating (puny floor with deep swath of surrounding seats) and I want a baseball park (similar seating but larger playing field).

I am sure it has all been carefully studied, measured out and compared to some Neopolitan norm as far as pie-size goes, but it ain't quite Neopolitan as far as the crust thickness/rim width goes anyway so why conform to the norm...hey this is Cali. That wonderful bread just needs some more company.

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  1. i said the same but without the geometric precision i admire in your post. the whole pizza
    feels off to me, despite wanting to love it. I wish they stuck to otto's formula instead, where it is in balance.

    lots of hot air at mozza

    1. I agree that the ratio is wrong. Was there for dinner last night and everyone at our table said the same. Needed more toppings and less crust. As things are now, I would not go back. Hope they fix these little problems, tons of potential.

      1 Reply
      1. re: HitTheBall

        Glad to hear its not just me (and everyone at my table); epop (btw, thanks for the compliment) as well as HitTheBall's table too. I hope NS/MB or anyone connected to the place get the message. It is very close to perfect.

      2. I'm sure they know what they're doing. They want a certain look about it or something. (>crust=>$$$)

        6 Replies
        1. re: monku

          Ok, I am no Jeffry Steingarten, but my food obsession [or, perhaps OCD] is making me do some MATH Homework.

          Maybe I overestimated Silverton's research.

          A Neoploitan law stipulates that:
          "pizza must be no more than 35 cm [13.779527559055118 inches] in diameter and no thicker than a third of a centimetre at its centre, rising to 2cm [0.7874015748031496 inches] at the crust."

          I didn't know I would being in-need of a ruler and slide-rule converter at Mozza (on my first first visit but next time I will be prepared. If memeory serves, Mozza's Pies are more like 10 inches [25.4 cm] with a crust of 2 inches [5.08 cm]: or, they might be the exact 35 cm [13.779527559055118 inches] but with a larger crust, say, 3.5 inches [6.35 cm]. Either way it violate the Neoploitan code at least as describbed in Wikipedia: http://www.fornobravo.com/vera_pizza_...

          We are not too far off from a proper ratio.

          1. re: Ciao Bob

            Maybe she doesn't care what the Neopolitan law is. Nancy is doing what she does, and IMHO I don't think she is going to change because of a few posts on this message board. If you sit at the pizza bar, notice how the pie fits on the stainless insertion paddle when it is laid on it. . There is no room for a bigger pie. Would I like the pie to be a little bigger? Sure, but if it remains the same I'll still keep going, because it's way better than any of the crap I was eating before.

            1. re: pizzafreak

              I figured the have the hardware already in place as to size. But, who knows, they may change it if they get enough bad-ratio FEEDback (pun intended).

              1. re: Ciao Bob

                This is like the movie critic complaining about some movie not having this or that or the other in it. This movie (pizza) was made by Director Silverton to "her" liking. If someone wants to make their "movie" then let them come up with the investors, find a set, get the supporting cast and crew together and they can bake it their way. We all get to vote with our feet / wallets. To me it's a brilliant effort that fills the big screen and my belly with something unique and new. Bravo, Ms. Silverton, (and whether the mushrooms are Cannes(d) or not, I'll be back for another screening soon).

                1. re: tony michaels

                  but this board is for the exchange of info and the sharing of personal experiences and opinions!

                  If I don't like a movie, I don't have to stay. If I don't liek an actor, i avoid his or her movies.

                  Some people share my opinion on actors and movies, some don't-but it's valid!

              2. re: pizzafreak

                I agree. It is what it is, and should be appreciated (or not) as such. It isn't fair to expect a restaurant to cater to everybody's individual preferences.

          2. i have not been to the new temple...yet...but i agree with you as to "different strokes for different folks" but i've been to 2 pizzeria's that have met some sort of "neopolitan code" - one here one, in vegas, and i found the toppings to be skimpy at both places....though it probably meets the "code" pizzeria bianco in phoenix understands that we want more topping...i'm also reminded of my 2 visits to italy where it's "different" - the pizza toppings are sparse ( but also keep in mind that pizza is simply one of many courses ) same goes for their sandwiches....the panini's i ate there ( and regular sandwiches ) had one slice of meat...maybe a slice of cheese and a heck of alot of bread !!

            i hope when i finally make it to mozza that they make adjustments to my liking ( which , btw, is very similar to yours )

            1. hmm.. so maybe i should be grateful that i haven't yet made a visit to mozza? our office has been trying to get out there, but no luck during reasonable mealtimes thus far. perhaps once we get past the busy signal and 4 PM availability, the pizza will have improved. i can't wait to try it for myself!

              1. My wife and I ate there last night as well. Started with appetizers - fried squash blossoms w/ricotta, white bean bruschetta w/mushrooms, and tricolore salad with anchovy dressing. All were absolutely sensational. The squash blossoms were not oily at all and the ricotta was creamy-good! The white-bean bruschetta was amazing - generous portions of white-bean hummus, a blend of mushrooms underneath, and topped off with sweet aged balsamic vinegar. The salad was tangy and crisp - more to my wife's taste than mine, but still really good.

                We ordered two pizzas: the Gorgonzola/fingerling potato/rosemary, and the Funghi misti, fontina, taleggio & thyme. The former was pleasant (the potatoes didn't make the pizza seem heavier - quite a feat) but ultimately a little salty, and too much crust. The funghi pizza, on the other hand, was heavenly: haven't ever had such creamy, delicious mushroom pizza (do they use truffle oil? Sure tasted like it). I'll definitely be back for that one.

                Dessert was the capper; butterscotch pudding with creme fraiche and two little cookies w/pine nuts and rosemary. Possibly the best dessert I've had in ages. Memorable doesn't begin to describe how yummy that pudding was.

                And the service? Absolutely top-notch. We went on a Saturday night at 7 pm and were out before 8. Glasses were refilled, our orders arrived in minutes, the waitress (ask for Christine!) was relaxed, attentive, and very friendly. Nancy was working the pizzas last night, and David Rosoff was working the tables. Extremely friendly atmosphere. He told us that Mario Batali has not been there yet, and that they're eagerly awaiting his arrival and feedback.

                The whole meal - salad, two apps, two pizzas, bottle of mineral water, and two desserts - set us back $78.00 before tax and tip. I think this place will be one of our mainstays for years to come. They'll work out the pizza kinks - be patient, folks. This place rocks!

                2 Replies
                1. re: bixhenry

                  i think the funghi pizza is a variation on the incredible NY sullivan st. bakery pizza funghi.
                  again, to me infinitely better than Mozza's.

                  I really wonder what stamp Batali has put on the place, besides his company's overuse of pumpkin paint on everything. But I like the guy and his food in NYC. Hope he can salvage the place for those of us that aren't satisfied with the opening. As is I don't expect to go back very often.

                  1. re: bixhenry

                    If you watch the pie being made, after the dough is laid on the insertion paddle the first thing that happens is that a good pinch of salt is broadcast on the dough. Perhaps in your case it was too generous a pinch.

                  2. I guess I'll be the naysayer. As one poster said, pizzas come in a million shapes with a million toppings and no single pizzeria is going to make everybody happy. I agree with that notion. I really enjoyed the pizza at Mozza. We had the lardo pizza and the clam pizza. The lardo pizza appeared to have almost nothing on it, but the lardo is so rich and decadent, that I did not want a lot on there. The clam pizza had a bit more toppings, but it seemed in balance to me. The crust is absolutely first-rate at Mozza, so I think they're doing the right thing with the toppings. The crust is not simply a vehicle for the toppings -- it is the essential foundation for a good pizza. I love crust, so I loved Mozza.

                    The arancine and tri-color salad were great starters, though I think the arancine might not have been fresh out of the fryer. And the butterscotch pudding for dessert was extraordinary -- one of the best things I've eaten in LA.

                    Mozza had great service, too. Nancy was working in the kitchen on Saturday afternoon.

                    1. I think we are all over-analyzing just a bit. I ate there yesterday and I thought the pizzas were the best I have ever had in LA. Enjoy the pizza for what it is. I would eat that crust if it were just drizzled with a bit of good virgin olive oil. That's how good it is, so I say give us more.

                      1. Perhaps this is a bit like what Mario Batali has said numerous times on his show, regarding Pasta - that in Italy, they don't use as much sauce as we do, because the Italians want to taste the pasta, not just the sauce.

                        1. Very Interesting Point.

                          1. I ate there for the third time today.

                            "Hope he can salvage the place for those of us that aren't satisfied with the opening. As is I don't expect to go back very often. "

                            I don't want anything to change. I've watched Nancy and her talented staff working every time I've gone. There's a sort of quiet, calm, focused way they cook that leads me to believe that the motions are set. There are no kinks to work out. She found her recipe, realized she was going to go with it, and that's what you'll get what you eat at Mozza. There will be no salvaging, and those of us who love it will happily go.
                            She knows what she's putting out, she knows it's good. Like the previous poster said about the pizza dough with some good olive oil...I'm right there with you. Look around the Mozza kitchen. Small, artesan produced bottles of olive oil everywhere. Maldon sea salt. Beautiful, beautifully simple high quality ingredients. The toppings are sparse so you appreciate each individual ingredient, at least I'm pretty sure what's what the intent is. A dining partner today got the white anchovy pizza. I took my fork and lifted a small chunk of tomato off the pizza. It's simply the best quality canned tomato you can get. It bursts with flavor and fruitiness. I don't eat pizza in L.A. I've just had too much of the run of the mill crap. Nearly everyone uses the same Alta Cucina tomatoes from the same purveyors, or product that tastes like it. American, citric acid-laced crap. Give me the San Marzanos, give me that crust, some olive oil, and some sea salt.

                            Look, I understand this place is hyped, and that gets annoying. I do my best not too hype it too much for my family and friends. It gets to a point where I just don't care what they or anyone else thinks. It's five minutes from my aparartment. I love the food, and the wine service, the hostess and maitre'd already know me (though service speed has been a little dodgy here and there, to be expected) and by god, I do love the Budino and the rest of the desserts (tried them all by now) but I will forever be bound to the Sofiata. It's like something pulled out of my childhood and made even better. (Bulgarian grandma always used cherries in syrup in many of her desserts)

                            Oh, and both the lasagna and the chicken cacciatora were two of the most satisfying, comforting things I've ever eaten, period. To be able to sit down with food like this with a quartino of dolcetto and follow it up with a sofiata and espresso is my idea of a perfect meal.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: fooddude37

                              I'm with you all the way. I'm going for lunch tomorrow because it's duck legs day, and also to continue eating my way through every pizza on the menu. This will be my third trip. This is the best pizza I have ever had.

                              1. re: fooddude37

                                thx for the quote, fooddude.

                                I look fwd to going back for the lasagne.

                                i'm all for quality in the details. she uses some of the products i do in my home. even so I just wasn't craving more pizza, as i would elsewhere. it wasn't savory. way too much bread for my taste. good smell to it. sauce too sweet on my margerita. too much taleggio in my funghi.

                                there is no disputing taste, said the Romans. glad you like it though. i'll wait to go to Otto in ny. Or batali to change this one when he comes to town.

                              2. I've been eating at Mozza since it opened. We go at odd times and always manage to snag seats within 30 minutes. Obviously, we're fans of the restaurant. Silverton has created amazing pizza based in her experience as a legendary baker. We've eaten our way through the entire list and, while we have our favorites, there isn't a misstep in the bunch.

                                HOWEVER, Silverton is no longer running the pizza station and we had our first mediocre experience at the restaurant. Her magnificent take on the classic pepperoni pizza, which we've enjoyed countless times, arrived so loaded with chiles that it was inedible. Truly - no one at the table wanted to finish their slice. The bianco arrived lukewarm and soggy. The arancine were oily and mushy. Only the budino was still impeccable.

                                I HOPE HOPE HOPE that this was a necessary glitch in the succession of power. Silverton has to deal with Osteria now so someone else must supervise the pizzeria. If our next visit is also plagued by mistakes, however, we'll be wary about returning. Consistency is the mark of a truly great restaurant - whether it's The French Laundry or Fatburger. And operating at top level without the main chef's supervision is the sign of a great restauranteur.

                                Mozza was world class when it opened. I hope it stays that way.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: letthemeatcake

                                  I was at Mozza last Thursday and Nancy was at the pizza station. I thought the pizza was just as good as the first time I went in March.

                                  I think the prices are very reasonable. There we're 4 of us -- we had 2 bottles of wine, 2 glasses of wine, a bunch of appetizers, 3 pizzas, dessert & coffee for under $200.

                                  1. re: Obessed

                                    Just to clarify -
                                    Silverton still works several nights a week, but is no longer every night. A 7-day work week would exhaust anyone! My criticism was meant to be constructive because I love Mozza. After eating there too many times to count, our first bad experience was also our first time without Nancy. Maybe a coincidence or maybe not - I've watched her reject many pies from the oven and send them to the kitchen staff for dinner. I hope it was just an off night.

                                2. Mozza's dollar to product ratio is off, too.

                                  1. How hard is it to get a reservation at Mozza? Is it worth just showing up at lunchtime and taking our chances?

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: caphill2320

                                      Usually for dinner you need at least a month in advance. Lunch may be easier, depending upon the day.
                                      Off hours, say 2:30 or 3:00 PM may be easier to walk in. Peak lunch or dinner hours, forget it.

                                      1. re: caphill2320

                                        Every time I've gone to Mozza, we've gotten seats at the bar within 30 minutes or less. I've never had a reservation. I've gone both at lunch time and dinner time.