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800 Degrees - Disappointing

Finally made it to 800 Degrees. The set up and presentation is interesting, but I found the pizza soggy and weak. The cheese and topping fell off the pizza when picked up. Price is fair, but the pizza is not impressive. Too bad.

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  1. Next time ask for it crispy and they are happy to do so. I've also found that anymore than 3 toping can be a bit much for their crust.

    1. i'd imagine that you'd have the same problem with any neapolitan pie.
      the crust at 800 degrees, like that at every neapolitan place , is intentionally very thin (per the criteria set out by the Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana).
      also, since they are required by the same criteria to use fresh cheese (i.e the low moisture, part-skim, rubber-cement-like commercial stuff is forbidden), the middle of the pie is SUPPOSED be soft.

      also, this type of pizza is not designed to have a lot of toppings.

      if you still have an interest in pursuing this, i second what wienermobile suggested and would advise you to ask for a crispy crust. it still won't be crispy in the middle, but it will be crispier around the periphery.

      btw, here is a link to the pizza-eating footage of Bourdain in Naples ITALY to give you an idea of how soft the center is SUPPOSED to be for this style of pie:
      Pizza footage starts around 0:30. Wet center footage at 0:48.

      http://www.travelchannel.com/video/re...

      13 Replies
      1. re: westsidegal

        Actually, I dont. For example this was much soggier than Sotto or Gjlina.

        1. re: Thor123

          i do not consider Gjelina a neapolitan pie.
          to me, it's a thin crust california pie.
          not saying that i don't like it, though.
          just a different animal.

          have never been to sotto.

          1. re: westsidegal

            WSG. Go to Sotto. It's excellent...even if it is east of the 405.

            1. re: Porthos

              based on your recommendation, i will do it .

                1. re: Thor123

                  yes and wrote about their great margherita

                  1. re: westsidegal

                    Do you consider that pizza neapolitan?

              1. re: westsidegal

                For what its worth:

                "The cuisine is what most would probably categorize as “New American,” which loosely translates to “has pork chop,” but two of our favorite things at Gjelina are a Neapolitan style pizza and gnocchi dish. " Immaculate Infatuation Restaurant Reviews.

                "The food is typically new american but since we came off hour, we got the Neapolitan pizza menu. We ordered one lamb sausage and one proscuitto. Pizzas were delicious, fresh ingredients..." Urban Spoon

                1. re: Thor123

                  I think the distinction is that Gjelina is Neapolitan-"style" vs Sotto which is more traditional Neapolitan.

                  I like them both.

                  1. re: Thor123

                    Gjelina's pizzas are not even what I'd consider Neapolitan-"style." Gjelina thinks they are, but Gjelina is just wrong on that count. I think they're tasty items, though.

                    1. re: cacio e pepe

                      +1, cacio e pepe
                      they are simply thin-crust california pizzas.
                      they are NOT neapolitan pies.

                  2. re: westsidegal

                    Yes, westside gal..get thee to Sotto...we await your thoughts...Ive loved it...especially the pizzas which i think are probably the best Neapolitan style in the area.

              2. you're being much too generous, westsidegal!

                5 Replies
                1. re: echoparkdirt

                  this is a first!
                  echoparkdirt, i don't think anyone has ever said that to me before!

                  1. re: westsidegal

                    If you eat pork, get the pork cheek pizza. Its fantastic, as is the fennel crusted pork chop.

                    1. re: Thor123

                      since i no longer eat meat, if i go there with my pork-loving friend, i will recommend it to him.

                      1. re: westsidegal

                        You're in luck. Two of the best items are meatless: the simple and pure margherita pizza and the spicy squid ink pasta.

                        1. re: Porthos

                          "spicy pasta"
                          that's all you needed to tell me.
                          i'm committed to the dish already.
                          the next time i'm jonesing for carbs, i'll get there.

                2. UPDATE: looks like this CH favorite is about to become a mega chain.... Wondering if the concept will suffer or thrive.... Thoughts?

                  http://la.eater.com/archives/2012/10/...

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                    I think we all saw this coming since 800 Degrees is part of the rapidly growing Umami empire. Frankly, as soon as I set foot in the joint I thought about how replicable the concept was. It just goes to show that fast food can be good food. I see this working out very well.

                    1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                      as long as the one in westwood continues doing what they are doing, i'll be a happy camper.

                      1. re: westsidegal

                        8 new stores coming including the OC and Las Vegas.

                    2. First visit tonight and VERY disappointing. Perhaps I adulterated the virtures of the Margharita by adding mushrooms and carmelized onions, but the combination virtually had no taste. The Tartufo was OK, but the Six on PIco has a much better version. The Ceasar was meh. Perhaps I ordered wrong, but this was basic stuff and was really underwhelming.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: pnutbuddah

                        funny i went for the first time yesterday and had the exact opposite experience.

                        got the margherita straight up. best 6.75 ever. soggy in the middle just the way Porthos likes it lol

                        1. re: ns1

                          my guesses about pnutbuddah's experience are:

                          1) a neapolitan pie, which is already supple in the middle because of the moisture of the fresh cheese, is a poor vehicle to take on any more moisture-laden ingredients such as mushrooms and onions. if i were god, 800 degrees wouldn't even offer half of the toppings they do. certainly all the "wet" ones, like grilled onions would not be made available.
                          fwiw, even in other types of restaurants, such as hamburger places, i normally find grilled onions to be more stewed than grilled, and they are rarely any good.

                          for the type of pie that is served at 800 degrees, the fewer toppings the better. the margherita, imho, is the best. on occasion i'll have a "dry" topping like sun dried tomatos or anchovies.

                          2) i've never been impressed with the desserts offered at 800 degrees.

                          3) this is just speculation, but i have an suspicion that pnutbuddah is comparing the $6.75 pie hot from the oven at 800 degrees with a $13 pie that s/he gets somewhere else.
                          if this is the case, it's an extremely unfair comparison.

                          a more correct comparison would be to a couple of slices, the kind made with commercial low-moisture/ low-fat rubbery cheese, bought by the slice and reheated at some other pizzeria.
                          those, at least, would be in the same price category even though they have scant relationship to any sort of neapolitan pie made with imported flour and fresh mozzarella and fresh basil, they would, at least be comparable in price.

                          1. re: westsidegal

                            Strongly agree with WSG on all counts... Personally, it would never occur to me to order anything but the simplest pie at 800 degrees. I'm not there for any favorite add-on (whether pedestrian or esoteric), or salads, or desserts.

                            I just want a margherita that I can polish off right there/on-the spot, without the need for a box/leftovers to smell up my 68 Mustang. I can devour a Margherita there and not feel physically or psychologically bloated, for well under $10. Took me a couple of visits to realize that this was my goal.

                            Eat it. Eat it there. Leave no trace. Move on. David Carradine Kung-Fu stylee...

                            1. re: silence9

                              I went in with this mindset and was not disappointed. I could seriously eat the margherita for days, and at 6.75 a pop I can actually afford to.

                              1. re: Ciao Bob

                                you'll know when i become god(ess) when 800 degrees no longer offers onions and mushrooms as toppings. :-)

                        2. After 6 month tried it again. This time, I stuck with the marg and ordered it a bit more done as recommended. Same result. Cheese slid off and the pizza IMO was nothing special.

                          23 Replies
                          1. re: Thor123

                            oh well.
                            i appreciate that you gave them a second try.
                            thanks

                            1. re: westsidegal

                              They are doing a good business, and the ingredients seem to be high quality for the price. Just wish the pizza didnt fall apart.

                              1. re: Thor123

                                it would have made my day if you, personally, had liked it, but still very appreciative of your effort to give it a fair chance.

                                1. re: westsidegal

                                  two things just for the record:

                                  1) I have never had a problem with the cheese, etc. falling off. I generally pick it up and fold it in half, NY pizza style

                                  2) This type of pizza is traditionally eaten with a knife and fork....primarily because melted, fresh mozz will tend to pull of in chunks. If you got to Italy, the only people not using a knife and fork to eat pizza are the tourists.

                                  Picking up the slice works great for american style pizza.....but doesn't work as well for the traditional Italian style.

                                  1. re: MrF

                                    I think slowly but surely people are starting to understand this with regards to Neapolitan style pizza.

                                    Glad to see I'm not the only one citing chapter and verse these days :)

                                    1. re: Porthos

                                      i've even stolen your link to the anthony bourdin clip of him eating neapolitan pie in naples.
                                      hope you don't mind.

                                      1. re: westsidegal

                                        Not at all! I think it really helps clarify things. :)

                                      2. re: Porthos

                                        Just an observation on my part, but I think the Neopolitan pizza-by-fork/knife might be a default related to etiquette in the Italian culture. Not that Italians never eat directly out of hand, but I've observed a general aversion of "hand-to-mouth."

                                        My first and strongest impression of this was decades ago. A friend who dated and ultimately married a young woman from Italy was scolded by her for consuming a banana with his hand. She promptly brought out a plate, fork and knife, placed the banana on the plate in front of him and motioned for him to proceed.

                                        Conjecture on my part, but I would think it's not a stretch to extrapolate this type of etiquette to eating to a pie with utensils by default. Picking it up and eating it by hand not only is impractical but considered rude as well.

                                        1. re: bulavinaka

                                          etiquette or not,
                                          if you carefully look at the nature of the item bourdain was eating, and the way he had to go about eating it even using a fork and knife. . . .

                                          1. re: westsidegal

                                            I don't know of the link and I don't doubt your reference to Bourdain's eating circumstance, but I have to think both drive each other. The dish was conceived in a way where it is impractical to eat by hand, but eating with fork and knife was probably de facto anyway.

                                          2. re: bulavinaka

                                            Take a look at this link. It goes through the ways you can eat Neapolitan style pizza. Hands are permitted, you just have to use the proper technique.

                                            Please feel free to save this link and pass it on also. :)

                                            http://nymag.com/restaurants/cheapeat...

                                            1. re: Porthos

                                              I've been "educating" the SO, but we've come to the conclusion that proper neopolitan pie is not her thing.

                                              1. re: ns1

                                                I don't think everyone has to like it. As long as people don't complain it's raw or not made properly!

                                                It's like complaining that traditional edomae sushi doesn't have enough ponzu sauce on it or enough toppings on it because someone is used to eating Nozawa style sushi and using that as their standard.

                                                It's sad when someone tries to put out an authentic product and is criticized because it's too authentic. Lombardi's in NYC is now a soulless substandard pizza because the crust no longer comes out blistered and charred due to tourists complaining about the "burnt" crust.

                                            2. re: bulavinaka

                                              don't know if I can fully get behind that statement, bulavinaka- in Rome you see everyone eat the pizza bianca out of hand in the piazza, and last time I was in Alba (which shuts down quite early) you know what is still open by the crowd of young people outside the door eating farinata pies by hand...

                                              1. re: jdwdeville

                                                I need to inform my friend's wife - she's got her work cut out for her back in the old country... ;-)

                                                1. re: bulavinaka

                                                  I mean, if I had to use a knife and fork every time I wanted to eat a banana, well, I wouldn't eat many bananas!

                                                  But I do think several of the foundation arguments used by 800 Degrees' detractors would fall by the wayside if they took up the knife and fork to attack their pie. FWIW I tried it for the first time last week and loved it!

                                                  1. re: jdwdeville

                                                    By the way, I never said a neapolitan pies should not be wet in the center. Just dont think the toppings should slide off the top like a double black diamond ski slope. Sotto IMO does it right, albeit at a higher price point.

                                                2. re: jdwdeville

                                                  That has been my experience in Rome also.

                                                  Also, the link I provided above clearly states eating with hands is acceptable in Naples also.

                                              2. re: Porthos

                                                i once complained of a certain pizza from a restaurant in Boulder, Co being too soggy in the middle on the snoozer board, Mountain States and boy was i schooled rather quickly! probably one of the slowest boards on chowhound which is surprising bc Denver area has some great food. but yeah neapolitan= soggy in the middle.

                                                1. re: trolley

                                                  Don't worry. Been talking about it here on the LA boards for 3-4 years now.

                                                  At least the Mountain States board's got it ;)

                                                  1. re: Porthos

                                                    it may be one of the slowest boards here but once you get some issue wrong (like thinking neapolitan shouldn't be wet in the center) they're onto you very quickly. i've yet to try 800 degrees before i leave the LA board in a few months for the slow Mountain States board :(

                                                    1. re: trolley

                                                      Try Sotto first before you head back! I think one of the finest examples we have of soggy middle pizza ;)

                                                      The lamb pasta is also delicious.

                                                      1. re: Porthos

                                                        well, it's not that i'm heading back. i've always been here but now making a big move over to colorado. i'm planning on taking a memory lane trip of restaurants along with places i haven't been to like sotto and gjelina. i'm moving to a place that has a pizza place called Locale and people say it's very authentic neapolitan. i'll miss this old place tho :(

                                    2. FWIW: I love 800 Degrees. My cheese sometimes stays in place, sometimes not so much. Also depends upon toppings. I love the quality of the food, love the price, love the taste, love the fact that it is open until 2am when I've forgotten to eat dinner. Big fan.

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: whiner

                                        ditto everything whiner says AND want to add that i love the fact that they are continuously open between lunch and dinner serving their FULL menu and that free parking is available at the broxton parking lot nearby.

                                        1. re: westsidegal

                                          "...i love the fact that they are continuously open between lunch and dinner serving their FULL menu..."

                                          I do think that's not saying much in their case.

                                          1. re: Servorg

                                            I love the fact that In N Out serves their full menu, continuously. Period.

                                            :-)

                                            1. re: Servorg

                                              that's because you don't like their food as much as i do.

                                              i'm not a fan of the abbreviated menus that some places (gjelina i'm looking at you) serve between lunch and dinner and after 10pm.

                                              and even though i understand the economics of it, as with the abbreviated menu, speaking purely as a customer i'm not a fan of having the restaurant closing between 2:30 and 5:30 as many do.

                                              1. re: westsidegal

                                                I only say that it's not all that surprising or noteworthy that they serve their "full" menu from lunch through dinner because their full menu is on the abbreviated side in the first place.

                                        2. I am very surprised to see ANY disappointment with this place. I go here all the time and it's great.

                                          I have tried pizza all over LA, but this place is the best for the cost/benefit ratio. It's good pizza, but don't try comparing it to places that have fewer customers and are more particular about their pizza.

                                          I would go as far to say its better than most of the sit-down pizza places you can find in LA. Most, but not all. And I love the concept.

                                          Just my 2 cents. It's good pizza.