Thursday, July 12, 2007

Pizza Mozzeria

After hearing all the buzz about Mozza, I knew I had to check it out eventually and after two visits, I can definitely say that it's one of my favorite restaurants in LA. Sure, the way reservations are made are a bit wacky.

You actually have to reserve 30 days before the date you want to dine there; however, if you call the day off, sometimes you may get lucky. You also have the option of eating at the bar, but that can sometimes be anywhere from a 20 minute to more than hour wait. But I believe in the maxim that good things come to those who wait and by my estimation, you are rewarded for all the hassle by the great food that comes out of Mozza's kitchen. So let's talk food now.

From both visits, I was able to try 6 of their appetizers. Of the six, the only one I didn't care for too much was the Broccoflower with Chile and Vinegar. I was expecting more sour-tangy-spicy flavors from this dish, but felt that those flavors were really held back, so everything ended up tasting a little more blah than I would have liked.

As for the other appetizers, three of them really stood out. First, I found the Fried Squash Blossoms to be light and crunchy. Second, while I'm not much of an organ meat eater, I have to say that the Chicken Livers with Capers, Parsley and topped with Bacon had citrusy notes that went well with the peppery bacon. Last, the Marinated Beets were tender, almost juicy and ate well with the more bitter greens that accompanied them.

So far, so good. I was very happy with my appetizers, but what we really came for was the pizzas and luckily, I was able to sample 5 of them. When I saw the pies at my first visit, I wasn't too keen on the speed bump that was wrapped around the pizza's circumference. I prefer thin crusts that will go all the way to the edge if possible. I wasn't looking forward to those last bites that were surely going to be a mouthful.

Surprisingly, the edges weren't as bread-y as I thought. Instead, they were actually more hollow, so what I experienced was actually a crust that was both crusty and airy at the same time.

As for the various pizzas that I tried, two of them really rocked my world. The first was the White Anchovy, Tomato & Hot Chilies Pizza. Wow! I loved the flavors. How can you go wrong with a combination of the saltiness of the fish, the sweet acidity of the tomatoes and the heat of the chilies all in one bite? I could eat that pizza every day.

The second pizza that I really enjoyed had one particular ingredient that many people may not normally expect to see on a pizza. That ingredient was oven-poached egg smack in the middle of the pie. Other ingredients included guanciale (an Italian bacon), asparagus, onion and parmigiano cheese.

Hmmm...sounds like a breakfast for champions, huh? And what a tasty breakfast at that! The particular ingredients may seem odd they really work well together. You get a nice little crunch from the asparagus. The guanicale is bacon that is tends to be flavored more strongly with pepper, salt and red pepper, so that by itself adds a lot of flavor to the pizza. Then for those of you who love dipping your toast in runny egg yolk like me, taking a bite of that same runny egg yolk along with the pizza itself is almost the same thing and just as good.

From the pizzas, let's move on to desserts. A must have for anyone who visits is Mozza's signature dessert, the Butterscotch Budino or butterscotch pudding. That pudding is out of this world. It's rich and you can definitely taste the butterscotch to the root of your tastebuds. Accompanying this dessert are also these rosemary cookies that are just amazing. You get sweet and savory in just one bite. The other dessert that I thought was outstanding was their Strawberry and Greek Yoghurt Coppetta. It was light, sweet and quite refreshing.

Overall, I enjoyed both of my visits to Mozza. The food was absolutely fabulous and I would definitely recommend this restaurant to anyone who was looking for great pizza and just great food overall.

To see pics, go to:
641 N Highland Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90019
(323) 297-0101

Pizzeria Mozza on Urbanspoon

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