The food: the best pizza I’ve ever eaten
While in Los Angeles recently, I made a pilgrimage to Pizzeria Mozza, the casual pizza restaurant that adjoins the more formal Osteria Mozza in West Hollywood, both spots owned by famed chefs and restauranteurs Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich, and Nancy Silverton.
I’d wanted to try Pizzeria Mozza after hearing great things about it from a variety of sources, including the venerable pizza blog Slice . Plus I’ve been working on a story set in L.A. and wanted to include a scene that took place at Pizzeria Mozza, so I needed to do some in-person research (so much more effective than looking up an address on Google Street View) on the location. Yeah, I did.
The online reservation system for Pizzeria Mozza would not let me reserve a table for two any later than 5 pm on a Thursday night, which I thought meant the place would be packed by 6, but may have meant they don’t take reservations during certain hours, because the attractive room was not full the whole time we were there.
We started with an antipasto of fried squash blossoms with ricotta, a menu item that called my name so loud resistance was futile.
Though the $12 order was small (it contained 5 stuffed blossoms), each bite of fried blossom was wonderful – hot, crunchy, creamy, scented with zucchini-ness, flavoured with olive oil and salt.
I prefer pizza meatless, so after I confessed my cheese ignorance and asked our easygoing and friendly – in a relaxed, not overly perky way – waiter what stracchino was (a creamy cow’s milk cheese, he said) I opted for the stracchino with artichokes, lemon and olives pizza ($16). I was happy when it came with baby arugula scattered over, and happier still when, after admiring its puffy cornicione, I bit into the crust, and found it to be bready yet airy, tasting of toasted wheat, and when combined with the toppings, mind-blowingly delicious.
At the waiter’s suggestion, E had ordered the pizza with speck, bufala mozzarella, olive tapenade & oregano ($16). Because the crust for that particular pizza is baked without the toppings (they are served at room temperature over the hot crust), the kitchen’s first try at baking it failed, and to tide E over while he waited for the second attempt, the waiter brought us a complimentary antipasto of caponata.
We appreciated this gracious gesture, but I found the caponata too garlicky, and wished we had been offered arancine alla bolognese instead, though if I wanted to try them, I should have ordered them. NEXT TIME.
E’s pizza, when it came out soon after, was also delicious and beautiful:
though I don’t think E found his to be quite as splendid as I did mine. I don’t think he’s salivating and dreaming about his pizza right now, for instance, and wondering how soon we can go back to L.A. to eat it again. But I am.