Mozza Pizzeria - a little long
so i finally went there last week after a solid three days after their grand opening. (I got there after 11pm on opening night and they had already run out of all their food for the day). But anyways found a seat at the pizza counter and sat right down. I already had a copy of the menu, so basically I knew what I wanted.
I ordered what I would get to really try out any new pizzeria, which is a simple cheese pizza or rather than the Pizza Margherita. Got that plus an order of the eggplant capanota, which the waiter described as more of a relish. The capanota was a really good relish, but I don't quite understand ordering it as a dish. It seems like it should arrive with a dish. And also no bread is there to serve it on. Anyways, I sat there eating my bowl of relish which was delicious though not excellent.
I watched the assembly line of workers laboring over the pizzas, it seems like the whole act was not officially together yet, but Nancy would add the finishing touches as the pizzas would come out of the oven, either she'd drizzle some of the pizzas with olive oil, or places slices of lardo on the already cooked pizza, or in my pizza's case cut up pieces of basil and place them on the cheese pizza. From the looks of the pizza as I was waiting, the pizza really did look to be very tiny, only about four small slices, a very tiny personal pizza. So most likely you won't be able to share one unless you're ordering as an appetizer possibly.
After a hefty hour or so, the cheese pizza arrived. It had a nice crust a little too puffy (like tandoori bread or tanoor bread) and had some nice blackened bits but it really didn't speak pizza to me. The sauce was mild and so was the cheese so once again I guess it's all about the bread and crust here, but I do believe they are giving short shrift to the cheese and saucing. Maybe it's due to Nancy's heavy involvement with artisanal breads over the years. Go figure. The pizza seemed to be a cross between an old Spago pizza and maybe one of those things you get Caioti Pizza Cafe with a tadbit of Italy thrown in. This is not New York pizza nor is Chicago pizza nor is it New Haven pizza, we can probably just call it Silverton pizza. But I will return to try the pizza or rather "bread" again. I curious to see in the long-run what Batali's function in the whole entreprise will be, as of yet, they do not carry the lamb procsiutto from Seattle's Salumi.
After polishing off the pizza, I was still tremendously hungry (and I definitely didn't want to wait another hour for what amounts to a slice of pizza and on secound thought should have ordered the already famed duck legs) so got a copy of the dessert menu and ordered the budino after deliberating between that and the chocolate one. The butterscoth budino that arrived was good not great, it was a little too sweet, but the creme fraiche helped a lot to bring the sweetness down to earth (at least a little bit, the fraiche here is also better than the stuff they use on the buttercotch at BLD) and the rosemary cookies on the side though interesting sounding were just ordinary cookies on the way to biscotti. I did finishe the dessert, it wasn't bad afterall.
I'll definitely have a return visit though not at the rate of other hounds (just helping out a fellow hound so you won't have to wait as long in the future). Lastly, the service is very efficient (I think the waiter must have refilled my water bottle more than a few times when it was going to run low). Also, the olive oil gelato may be on the menu in a few months from now, when they get their gelato machine.
Even though the items on the menu are reasonable, everything adds up real fast.
You can get the Lamb Procuitto at Cube... it's not exactly what you expect it to be, but very tasty and flavorful!
Thanks for the detailed report, we're planning to get over to Mozza one of these days! :)
I'll definitely check it out, that of course, and hopefully they carry f.c.'s duck rilletes now.
I am adding this reply that I aslo posted on another thread.
I agree with you that she must have spent too much time on the bread 'cause the sauce and cheese seem neglected. And you're right when you say, it's like "Spago pizza" and I'll add, "in the eartly 90's".
"It may be just me but this place was way too overhyped, and like someone said earlier, LA must be too starved for a good new restaurant for this place to be considered so "fabulous". It seems in LA, people just want to jump on any bandwagon just to say they're in the know.
Mozza's pizza is OK. For California style pizza it's good. But when people try to cram it down my throat that's it's soooooooooooooooo New York, or sooooooooooo authentic off the boat from Italy, I have to draw the line. IT'S NOT NEW YORK PIZZA. Plain and simple. It's too thick, too overdone gourmand (typical LA), in fact I'd liken it to a New York pizza that's had an over-the-top Beverly Hills style facelift.
Pizza that's real pizza is thin, with a thicker crust only at the edge, and it's all about the sauce and quality of the cheeses used. Plain and simple.
I enjoyed it enough for what it was, but when I want real pizza, I'd actually opt for Albano's, Mulberry Street, Doug Arango's or Madeo."
I have to agree with JSny. I'll take Mulberry Street pizza over Mozza anyday. Albano's is good but they have to lighten up on the cornmeal on the bottom (it's just too much). To me the best thin crust pizza in LA is probably Doug Arango's. I believe the chef is a native NY'er so he has an unfair advantage. Their Margherita pizza is incredible. I agree that it's in the sauce and their sauce has a lot of flavor and taste like the tomatoes were just picked. I hate spago's pizza (way too thick).
I guess if your not Italian, and believe that LA is the cultural center of the universe, you'll think Mozza is "real pizza". Again I agree with JSny that it's not. It is an imposter. To me, that's like telling me Monkfish is the most wonderful lobster you ever had. It ain't lobster. And therefore, way too thick, too many ingredient wannabee pizza, is an LA thing, not a pizza thing.
Great review! Sounds like it will be good (the pizza aspect, not he desserts or others). I have read that smoke was an issue from the wood ovens though in some other threads. Was that for you? Pardon the base question, but there is not website with prices... what is the range for pizzas? Just generally?
Also, I have to respectfully disagree with the notion that the dough/bread has but a minor role in the whole "Pizza" experience. If true, I could thaw some of my homemade sauce, purchase top quality ingredients (toppings, oils, etc) and, given the proper oven, get a great pizza tonight! Right? No. What we can't get is great crust unless you spend hours/days(?!) fermenting and rising your own. There is not mail order service for this 'un. So, we gotta go out and eat pizza. Its because of the dough.
So... I guess what I am trying to say is that imho the true art of pizza making stems from the ability to make a great crust. I am so glad to hear that the Pizza Chef at Mozza is a baker by trade. Thanks for the info, NOW it gets interesting for me. I am gonna go check it out for sure! Anyone can portion out the beloved, iridescent Lardo sheets or topp it with preseasoned, presauteed mushrooms... But, to capture a lovely tart, yeasty complexity in countless intricate networks of gluten over hours of careful fermentaion is another story. Then to have it ready to blast into a oven at the right time, enabling the dough to bubble and burble through its sauce... Well, thats not easy. Even more importantly, dough doesn't have a rind that enables shipping, it doesn't freeze, it doesn't even refrigerate well after preparation. It is a bare, true statement of the artisans skill that day, the weather conditions, the yeasts and the bacterias peevish proclivities and sooooo much more!
Imagine a world without dough. Imagine a world of Tricuit (R) pizzas. Then run to make some dough and support artisan dough makers!
You're correct. People are thinking way too much about this. It's only pizza, we're not saving the world here.
I felt it was expensive for how small they are. They start @ $9 but average around $13 and I believe as high as $16 for a single personal size pizza. And the sodas are expensive as well. It's not bad, it's just not great. And for people to be lining up, and putting up with the smoke, to me means that they are followers who believe in hype.
Last night we opted for pizza and pasta at Doug Arango's. We started with an incredible shrimp, rstd red pepper, cilantro pizza with fresh mozzarella, the incredible sauce and a touch of some sort of lemon oil. It was Fantastic. We then both had the pasta with rapini, homemade sausage alio olio and it's always just a favorite of mine. I would suggest you give their pizzas are try and compare to Mozza. They're priced the same but are about 30% larger with a thinner, cripy crust. Then I'd like to hear if you still think Mozza is the best. You may have a new favorite pizza after you do your comparison.