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Pizzeria Mozza....... Uhm..... NOT. More like Pizzeria Sale

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I capped off a friend's LA trip from NYC at Pizzeria Mozza last night. He suggested it, and since I have only been there right after it opened, I wanted to give it another chance. I would characterize my first experience there as ok, as I found the pizza excessively salty, and the service was also blah.

We were seated at the table and we quickly chose 4 appetitizers, the arancine, squash blossoms with ricotta, rucola salad, and the tuscan bean bruschetta. I thought the best item was the bruschetta, creamy, good amount of olive oil and balsamic, and a nice nutty bean flavor. The rucola salad was straight-forward with thinly sliced mushrooms and thick slices of parmigian reggiano. I was not impressed with the squash blossoms as I wanted a little more volume in them, and they seemed greasy and heavy. The arancine bolognese was decent with a nice crunch and a non-memorable marinara sauce.

On to the next course, the Pizza. As stated before the reason why I have been only to the Pizzeria once since it opened was the fact that the pizza was waay salty then, and I was hoping that this time around the kitchen would get its act together after a year and a half of seasoning. I had the wild nettles pizza with salami, others ordered the margherita pizza with basil and the salumi, mozzarella, tomato and fresno chilies. The pizza arrived just warm and not hot, a dissapointment... and once again the pizzas were SALTY. Due, what is up with this place? The wild nettles pizza after I had half the pizza made me feel like this was brined prior to firing. I took a bite from the Margherita and it too was salty and not that appealing. Luckily the fire from the fresno chilies muted the taste from the salumi pie. Has Nancy Silverton tasted these pies? I had a quartino of Barbera which was great along with my meal.

We finished the meal off with the budino, which I thought was the best dish of the night.

The service was better this time around, and yes the rock music was pumping. I heard some Hendrix. The cramped seating could affect those who might have clausterphobia, especially if they were just recently released from Guantanamo.

My question is why is this place raved about when it consistently has salt issues. I have eaten at Lucali in NY for pizza and PM pales in comparison. Am i alone with these issues?? I even think Terroni now has a better pie, and I love my Vito's right out of the oven, for a slice of NY style.

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  1. I just have to laugh after the thread which started up around soniabegonia's post here http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5814... about how badly UNDER SALTED her food was at Pizzeria Mozza. Now here you are with the exact opposite complaint. Is this opening a "can of worms?" or perhaps a "shaker of salt?"

    4 Replies
    1. re: Servorg

      I laughed as well.

      I ate there for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and thought it was excellent, and neither under nor over-salted. I had just read the under-salted thread prior to my visit, so it was something I consciously thought about while I was there. I suspect that the OP's issue isn't really with the amount of salt, but the way in which it was deployed. If they salt the food just before serving (i.e., a dusting of fleur de sel or something like that), the salt will be much more forward than if it's simply incorporated at an earlier stage of cooking.

      1. re: Jack Flash

        My issue is the way Pizzeria Mozza expects you to consume this pizza that they present to you. My bias comes from the excellent wood fired pizzas in brooklyn ie Lucali. Now that is a serious pizza.

      2. re: Servorg

        Ha. I have had plenty of things at Mozza that were undersalted, oversalted, as well as properly salted. The pizza in question was grossly undersalted, which prompted my response. The things that were oversalted were enough for me to notice, but not so grossly oversalted that I felt the need to make an issue of it. I think if Batali or Silverton were to taste every single item on the menu as it is normally prepared, they would feel the need to adjust the salt on a number of items. Of course, I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt that they have a discerning palate. Salt is a hot topic here http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/589768

        1. re: Servorg

          AAAHHHH, the salt thread. That was a good one!

        2. I agree with Schweinhaxen. The garlic bread was delicious but nearly inedible because of its salt crust. Likewise, the pizza was mostly good (some of the better pizza in LA) but excruciatingly salty. Just tell them light on the salt in general and no salt on the pizzas with pancetta. By the way, don't order the squash blossom pizza--they cook the delicate things to oblivion.

          1. This post about a discount on pizzas was not what I had hoped.

            4 Replies
            1. re: SaltCod

              sale = Salt in Italian

              1. re: Mattapoisett in LA

                You've got to appreciate the irony of his/her name, too. ;)

                To the OP's comment, I've been to Mozza a number of times now and haven't taken issue with the salt at all. The only seasoning issue I had was the meatball appetizer that was *very* spicy on one particular visit - and I enjoy a good bit of heat.

                You've made my mouth water... I could go for that leek, goat cheese, and bacon pizza right about now.

                1. re: sobriquet

                  Haha. And I personally really liked that fact that the meatball appetizer was very spicy and admired Mozza for not being afraid to use heat! It was very refreshing. Just goes to show...

                2. re: Mattapoisett in LA

                  I alway forget sarcasm often doesn't translate over the internet. Although the idea Mozza would have a "pizza sale" still makes me chuckle. I laugh at my own jokes, live with my aunt and my best friend is a turnip. :(

              2. Could the saltiness be a matter of taste more than a "mistake" on the part of the pizza people? If it's still salty over a year later, maybe that's just the way they make their 'zza.

                2 Replies
                1. re: GenevieveCa

                  Considering I keep a tub of margarita salt on my table -- I dip individual bites into the margarita salt, who has time to salt the whole plate? -- this sounds ideal.

                  Haven't been to PM yet, was waiting for the hype to fade, but now I just might have to try it -- this weekend.

                  I'll leave the tub o' salt at home.

                  -cb-

                  1. re: GenevieveCa

                    It could be a matter of taste, or even a matter of chemistry. Some people are more sensitive to certain things.

                    And while posters might argue that they find salt levels okay at every other restaurant, I don't think Mozza would be one of the busiest restaurants in LA if the problem was as outrageous as it is made out to be in this thread.

                  2. I thought of ordering the nettle pizza when I was there, but our waitress actually mentioned spontaneously that it was salty, although she said it was tasty. I asked why it was salty and she says that the nettles are very absorbant. Years ago I had a nettles pizza at Chez Panisse that was terrific and not salty.

                    The Budino was salty, but I had already read about that so was expecting it.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: noshie

                      I had a bit of a friend's nettle pizza a few weeks ago and it is a bit salter - and much, much more bitter - than their other pies. It's the bitterness, and not the saltiness, that would put me off from ordering that one.

                    2. I wonder if this varies from pizza to pizza. I tend to find things salty, and I haven't had this problem at Mozza, but I also tend to stick to one or two pizzas that are favorites.