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May 27, 2007 10:35 AM

Mozza: good, but not worth the effort

Haven't posted a review in a while, but I thought I would jump back in with the obligatory first Mozza excursion post. My husband and I arrived yesterday afternoon at 3:15, without reservations. The wait to get in was 30 minutes, which was reasonable given no reservation. We were seated at the regular bar (not the pizza bar). We weren't given menus for about 10 minutes. Then we waited what seemed like forever for our food. Food finally came out 45 minutes after we were seated. This was pretty much the norm, as we observed other diners around us waiting a long time for their food as well. We were still excited though, certain that the pizza would be worth the wait. But it just wasn't. Yes, it was good and we enjoyed it. As others have observed, pizza is more like really good bread with some high quality, but sparsely dispersed toppings. Yummy, but it just seemed like quite an ordeal for above-average, but not transcendent, bread. We enjoyed the pizza, as well as the butterscotch buddino. But at the end of our Mozza experience, we felt underwhelmed. Husband and I agreed that if we lived in the neighborhood and could walk in and procure food promptly, we would visit again. But in our view, the food is definitely not worthy of driving across the city, paying $7.50 for valet parking, waiting a half hour to get in, and sitting on uncomfortable bar stools for 45 minutes waiting for food. In sum, the food was good, but the effort to yumminess ratio wasn't sufficient for a second visit.

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  1. As someone who makes pizza, there is an inverse relationship between the amount of toppings and the outcome of the dough. If you have had pizza in Italy, then you know what I am talking about. The pizza lovers I know put up with Mozza's problems because they do appreciate the pizza. If Mozza was a disappointment, then don't even bother with Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix, which has a 2-3 hour wait with no reservations. My last trip to Mozza, we sat next to a couple who regularly makes this trip.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Alta Bob

      I was just commenting to a friend today how ridiculous that valet fee is. There is street parking all over there.

      I've made two trips to Pizzeria Bianco now and I will continue to go every 6 months or so. It is mind-blowing pizza. Bianco is in a completely different league in terms of taste, price, and dining experience. Even the wait is fun over there. It's hard for me to go to Mozza now.

    2. I posted a review of my first Mozza experience recently, and I went from a location maybe a mile-and-a-half from the place, and scored a reservation, so we had a table. Our pizzas took a bit to come out, like yours, but we ordered other dishes that came out before hand, so it made the somewhat long wait for the pies less noticeable. I think that, had we driven across town to sit at the bar just for pizza, we might have felt the same way as you did. Being in the neighborhood, having a nice table, and being kept happy with food until the pizzas arrived likely made my experience a much better one that yours seemed to be.

      I'm not sure if Mozza is something I'd recommend crossing town to experience, at least not for two people just wanting pizza. If one does make a journey of it, I would say one should have a reservation, and one should plan on making a full night of it, going with a group of four or so if possible so as to more freely order antipasti and different pizzas to broaden the experience and not have a "We got two pizzas, and they were so-so - what's the big deal?" experience. I think Mozza is probably the type of place that gets better with larger groups.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Woolsey

        I have given Mozza recommendations but heard back from one about a poor evening Sunday (Father's Day). I guess Nancy took the night off. The pizzas were bathed in grease. There was a waitress who was rude too. My friend said both parties sitting to his side agreed that the pizzas were greazy and the help sucked.

        1. re: Alta Bob

          Not to minimize your friend's unfortunate experience but I was there a little after 9 on Sunday night, following a (partial) concert, and had the opposite experience. My goat cheese with leeks and bacon was great (as was the lamb straccotto to start) and my service was helpful and friendly.

      2. Sorry that your first experience will be your last. To pay $7.50 for valet at a restaurant where I had no reservation, would have under whelmed me too. Specially if I had to sit at the bar just to get some pizza and missed out on all the good side dishes that they offer. I've dined at Mozza about 6 or 7 times since they opened. Ordering only pizza is missing a big shot. The crostini of chopped liver has converted all of my "liver-hating" friends. Their Fennel Sausage special on Thursdays is excellent. The delicious Lamb Shank special on Saturdays is served on the creamiest polenta I have ever tasted. If these are any hint of what will appear on the menu of Osteria Mozza, next door, then it may have the makings for a great L.A. destination restaurant. In the meantime, I intend to return and continue my sampling of the menu. That burrata pizza with squash blossoms is just too good.

        1. A couple of people posted that our problem was that we just ordered pizzas (and dessert), and we needed to order other dishes. Well, there's really only so much my husband and I can eat in one sitting, and I think it should have been reasonable for us to assume that the pizza would be the best bet at a place with "Pizzeria" in the name! Especially after all the raves about the pizza on this board. Oh well...if we ever end up there again--hopefully with a larger party with a bigger combined appetite--we'll try the other dishes. But I won't make a special trip again. Too many other outstanding places to eat in this city. :)

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