I am shocked, appalled, outraged and unhappy that none of the earlier contributions to this thread mentioned three crucial facts about Casa Bianca's pizzas. First, the crust is shockingly pale on the underside--after considerable invenstment of time we found a patch that had been cooked to a pale golden hue, but otherwise it was uniformly white. The consequences are obvious and I'll not trot them out. Second, the edge of the crust, the rim of the pizza wheel, is not bubbly and raised and chewy. Third, the fried eggplant has been battered before being fried and set atop the pizza. Let me also counsel against the "spicy green olives," which were fine se ipse but applied far too generously.
Just went to this legendary institution for the first time last night -- so I'm no Casa B expert. However, having lived for a few years in New Haven, pizza epicenter of the USA, I can claim some small authority on their brand of cuisine...
While of course nothing rivals my fond and too-nostalgic memories of the uniquely- rectangular-thin-crusted-served-on-a-big-metal-tray-I-
know-this-really-couldn't-be- fresh-mozzarella-but-it sure-tastes-like-it-pizza-pies at Sally's in NH, I nonetheless enjoyed my meal at CB.
OUr dinner began with a 45 min wait outside which I'd been warned about and which was made actually kind of fun by the semi-legal drinking of un-brown-bagged Morettis (they serve the regular light beer as well as the darker and, would you call it spicy?, "Rossa") outside on the street. When we were finally seated, we were disappointed to be in the basement-like back-room, instead of the more charming, vintage restaruant feeling main room. However, moods lifted again as soon as the food arrived...
This place is about the pizza of course, but the quarter lettuce salad with anchovies makes a good crunchy case, as if one were needed, for the return of iceberg lettuce to our lives. (Compare the wedge of head lettuce they serve at Musso's -- not nearly as exciting.) As for the pizza, we ordered one plain cheese pie -- a necessary test and my personal favorite pizza variety. And we ordered one with fried eggplant per recommendation in this thread.
I would characterize the pizza at CB as intense -- a strong burst of pizza flavor that goes a very long way. Despite the low-brow nature of the restaurant, it's not an everyday pizza, at least not for me. It's a savory appetizer in the meal of life, not the main course. By contrast, the pizza at my neighborhood restaurant, Michaelangelo's is milder and fresher tasting, closer to what I imagine real Neopoliton pizza to be like; although the sad truth is I've never eaten pizza in Italy. (ONly problem with Michaelangelo's: the crust, which is pleasingly thin, is a little soft and undercooked -- but maybe that's the unfortunate steaming effect of the pizza delivery box?) IMO, the best aspect of Casa Bianca's pizza is the sauce which is very tangy and salty. The crust I liked but found a little strange. Yes, it's thin and crisp. But it was also a little greasy and weirdly flaky in the manner of a ritz cracker or pastry crust. Not displeasing, but not exactly what you want in a pizza crust either. The cheese? Good not great. Maybe a little heavily laid on. The fried eggplant? Totally excellent. Joined in our case by fresh tomato, garlic and basil, the crispy, breaded eggplant made for a delicious if somewhat top-heavy pie. (Unbelievably, my companions and I couldn't finish it.)
In sum: a fun tasty place to go. I'll definitely be back -- but not tomorrow. CB is up there but for a regular twice-a-week pie I think I prefer Michaelangelo's as well as Mulberry ST in (gasp) Bev Hills.
Speaking of Beverly HIlls, does anyone know if they serve pizza at that great gelatto place on Roberston? Something tells me that they do and that it might be just the ticket...
That's all for now. I'm through procastinating for the moment.
Kevin--just a quick note to point out that we have many thousands of users. So rather than be "just another Kevin", if you'd include a last name or use a "handle" (anything to make your nametag distinctive), it'd allow everyone to get to know you and not confuse you with other Kevins, past or future!
of course, your nametag is your business, so if you'd prefer to be just plain old "Kevin", that's totally your perogative!
Well, first of all, despite the debate at this site last year, I think it's still good. I ate there day after thanxgiving and the cheese pizza was still great. The other stuff on the menu is ok, but pizza is definitely the thing to order there. Its a pretty old school place, so they don't have alot of fancy toppings. Most people agree that sausage or just plain cheese is the way to go. Oh, and the crust is REAL thin. That's how I like it, but I know some folks don't.
Come to think of it, I haven't seen it open in a while, so you might want to call before you head out there and make sure they're still in business.
re: Chris O
Yes, Casa Bianca is still in business and has the added virtue of being open late. They offer three standard pizzas: cheese, sausage, and pepperoni. Other toppings are available but artichokes are not among them. They do also offer a thick-crust option but I've never seen one.