Sunday, July 18, 2010

Pizzeria Mozza

Friday night, we took our friend Z, who was visiting from New York, to Pizzeria Mozza for dinner to check out Mario Batali's food on the west coast.  Z and I have made many memorable trips to Lupa and Babbo in New York; visits which instilled in me a deep love and appreciation for Italian food.  I've had some of the best meals in my life with Z and miss her dearly now that I'm on the west coast.

Moving past the nostalgia to more importantly, the food: we ordered Nancy's chopped salad, the meat lover's pizza, potato and egg pizza, and mushrooms, pancetta and peas pizzette.  The chopped salad consisted of strips of lettuce and arugula, cheese, salame and cherry tomatoes:
Unfortunately, they overdressed the salad; it was soaked with dressing and they were extremely heavy handed with the dried oregano, like they accidentally dumped a jar on the salad, which is never pleasant.  We were starved so we ate most of it, but it was definitely a shame that it was so overdone.  The meat lover's pizza was filled with bacon, salame, housemade fennel sausage, pancetta, tomato and mozzarella: 
It was meaty, heavy and delicious.  The meats were all excellent in their own way and the acid from the tomato sauce nicely balanced out all the meat.  The real star of all of Mozza's pizzas is the dough.  Nancy Silverton, Batali's partner in Mozza, is formerly of La Brea bakery and known for her bread.  The Mozza crust is thick, chewy and very flavorful.  It has a crunch on the outside, but is thick and bread-y on the inside.  Usually I don't like to fill up on crusts, but I savor every bite of her crusts.  I could easily eat the crust alone.  The other full-size pizza was topped with egg, bacon, yukon gold potato and bermuda onions:
I'm always a fan of a soft cooked egg on pizza that oozes all over the pizza when cut into.  The pizza was like a perfect breakfast pizza with the egg, bacon and potato.  It's also quite dense, but tasty.  Not quite as many diverse flavors as the meat lover's pizza; I could see one getting tired of this pizza after a couple of bites, but one slice per person was perfect.

Finally, the king trumpet mushrooms, spring onions, peas and pancetta pizza was delightful.  It was quite tiny, half the size of a regular pizza, but very spring-ish.  We had a bottle of 2008 Vernaccia di San Gimignano by Panizzi which was a lovely crisp white wine that was deliciously refreshing with the rich pizzas and perfect on a hot summer day.  Z and I first discovered our love for Vernaccia's from San Gimignano (close to Tuscany; Z's actually visited San Gimignano) from one of our Babbo nights at the bar.  All and all, Mozza was a great meal.  A little rich and heavy, so not for everyday consumption, but a real treat every once in awhile.  It's unique and different from any of Batali's New York restaurants, so I think Z really enjoyed it!  We sat in the wine cellar room which is pretty mellow and quiet compared to the more raucous and crowded main dining room.  We didn't mind the quiet as it allowed us to focus on what was really important, catching up and the food!
Pizzeria Mozza
641 N. Highland Avenue
Los Angeles, CA  90036
(323) 297-0010

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