I really wanted to like Mozza....
As an Italian... and even more specifically Neapolitan... I have been trying to reserve any criticism of Mozza until I could have the pleasure of dining their myself. As much as I wanted to dislike Mozza, there was also a part of me that wanted to like it. What better than a total outsider to the Italian culture and community (Nancy Silverton) opening up an "authentic" Pizzeria.
I really wanted it to be good... I wanted to be shocked... I wanted to tip my hat to the outsider, the American girl with curly hair that looks and acts so completely non Italian...
I knew I was in for a disappointment the minute I sat down to the bar and saw a pizza go by. It was not served on the traditional pizzeria style plate but what looked to be a salad plate. The pizza looked like a "Boboli" from the supermarket. Even so don't pass judgement until you have tried it.
We ordered the zucchini flowers, fried and stuffed with ricotta. They were not edible. So greasy they literally were a sponge of Olive oil. By the way, 4$ a flower...
Reading the menu for pizza, you see ingredients that were never meant on a pizza. That's fine but you saw combinations that just don't go. Sicilian ingredients mixed with Alpine with a touch of the Pianura. I love "Ortica" (stinging nettles). So I ordered the pizza with nettles and cacio.
Bad bad bad. It is hard to make a pizza almost inedible... but they did a really good job. It was an over leavened sponge dripping in olive oil. I could not believe it.
After eating very little pizza we ordered dessert. The highlight of the evening. Meno male, at least the ice cream removed the awful oily after taste that remained in my mouth.
What amazes me is that the restaurant is packed. Does Los Angeles really not understand Italian food to this level...?
All I can say is if you are looking for the Yuppy version of Chucky Cheese...don't let the novelty of interesting ingredients fool you... even Chucky Cheese has better pizza... and at least they are not pretending to be anything they're not... Nancy leave the Italian food to the Italians... Forza Italia, Forza Napoli
It's apparently la forza del destino for my native city, pizza-lost Los Angeles, but I hope the 'hounds who have never had pizza in Napoli or New Haven or Chicago will open their minds to your forceful report.
"What better than a total outsider to the Italian culture and community (Nancy Silverton) opening up an "authentic" Pizzeria."
Whether you liked it or not I don't think this was Silverton's purpose. I believe she wanted to make the best pizza she could in her style.
1. Mozza isn't meant to be authentic Neapolitan and has never claimed to be. Even in Italy, you have different styles of pizza (neapolitan vs roman, etc).
2. The hyperbolic comparisons to Boboli and Chucky Cheese are obviously a great exaggeration and show tredmendous bias.
3. It is interesting to note that OP has previously bashed Mozza and Nancy Silverton prior to this first visit to P.Mozza.
For those that believe in conspiracy theory... bias...none... preconceived notions based on 40 years life experiences and passed encounters with Silverton's food at La Terza Tavolo Caldo nights...yes.
Past experiences aside, my criticism is on the food...
1) pizzas too small, too thick, over leavened, and very very oily
2) zucchini flowers oily, and grossly overpriced
3) poor/random combination of ingredients...
4) Overall grossly overpriced
That is not to suggest that she should be making traditional Italian pizzas, but in order to break the rules you have to understand the rules first...
I appreciate the fact that many enjoy this restaurant... I may be missing something, but what do you like??? What makes people rave about it??? So far no one has even addressed that...
"..poor/random combination of ingredients..."
What is a random combination? Is it one in which they just looked around the kitchen and whatever was there they put on the pizza? Or is that they place the ingredients on the pizza while looking at something else?
Plus I just reread your review, "I really wanted it to be good... I wanted to be shocked... I wanted to tip my hat to the outsider, the American girl with curly hair that looks and acts so completely non Italian."
What condescending drivel. American girl with curly hair? I think she's in her 50's. And she acts so completely non Italian? You will find that most of us Americans act very non-Italian. Guess what? It's because WE'RE NOT! Nor are we Greek or Spanish or...but a few of us are very good cooks.
"Does Los Angeles really not understand Italian food to this level...?"
Well. I understand Italian food about as much as Middle Eastern food or Indian food, since I live in CALIFORNIA, thousands of miles away. I love Mozza, but it must be because I don't understand Italian food. My bad.
To be fair to the OP, he makes some solid points:
1. $4 a zucchini blossom is quite expensive.
2. Many of the otherwise delicious topping combinations at Pizzaria Mozza would never be served together if you were in Italy.
3. P. Mozza doesn't use the proper plates to serve their pizza which indicates that they are not only not Italian but that their pizza isn't right.
4. Angelenos aren't ready to understand Italian food at a high level.
5. Only Italians should cook Italian food (but we all knew that already).
6. Despite delivering both panna cotta and burrata cheese from regional obscurity even in Italy to becoming the darlings of the American restaurant scene, Nancy Silverton especially should give up trying to cook Italian food. At least she should wait until she outgrows her girlish, very un-Italian curly hair.
7. Italians display the kind of nationalism that engenders worldwide hatred when Americans do the same.
I'm not exactly sure why so many are disagreeing with these issues. ;-b
But in all seriousness, I suppose pizza is somewhat of a religion in Naples. It must be cooked in a wood burning oven. It must be a certain size. If it is topped with cheese, it must be mozzarella di bufala (made with water buffalo milk) and not fior di latte (cow's milk cheese), which any good Italian knows. So an iconoclast like Nancy Silverton is just not going to win when judged by a traditionalist, much less one from Naples.
When I want traditional, I go to Pizzaria Antica in Marina Del Rey to get a reasonable facsimile. But when I want what I think is the best pizza in Los Angeles, I'll go to Mozza.
"Only Italians should cook Italian food"?
Ohhhh-kay. The only thing I really don't understand is why people order things in America, then proceed to rip them to shreds because it is not EXACTLY like it is in the country of origin. The only way pizza is going to be 100% authentic is if you order it in Italy. Until then, just sit back and relax- and enjoy your slice of authentic California pizza.