Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Pizzeria Mozza - an enduring hit

When Pizzeria Mozza opened in late fall/early winter of 2006 the buzz was deafening - a collaboration between hometown favorite baker and author Nancy Silverton (La Brea Bakery, Campanile) and television personality and New York restaurateur Mario Batali and his partner Joe Bastianich, riding the first wave of thin crust pizza momentum. Reservations were hard to come by and the line to eat at the wine or pizza bars was long at all but off hours.

Several months later its grown-up sibling the Osteria opened in spring 2007, and amazingly for a fickle town, both restaurants are still packed and serving quality and delicious food. The Mozzas have the staying power of Balthazar, Keith McNally's New York City restaurant that redefined the bistro and has been perennially packed since it opened more than a decade ago.

Some friends were visiting from New York post-Coachella and we made our ritual stop for pizza at Pizzeria Mozza on Monday. I had the Margherita pizza with mozzarella, tomato & basil and added an egg because isn't everything better with a runny egg? (as a non pork eater I have made runny eggs my substitute.) I began with the bone marrow because it was on the menu. My dining companions ordered the brussel sprouts, the Burricotta and the Fennel Sausage pizza. The sausage pizza looked like a meat lovers pizza - heaping portions of sausage on the pie. The burricotta had buratta cheese with ricotta cheese within it. I tried a piece of the cheese and it was rather good but I may prefer the traditional burrata.

The bone marrow was very rich and came as 3 cylinders, served with greens, salt, garlic and 2 toasts. A third toast was ordered (not sure why it doesn't automatically come - it should). It was good, very rich and better with the accompaniments but not as good as the bone marrow at some of the french bistros such as Church & State and Comme Ca. The marrow, while rich, was just not as flavorful as at those other restaurants.

The pizza however was top notch. The margherita (pictured) was a thing of beauty and the egg yolk ran over the pie in a very appetizing way. The crust was blistered but not burned and the ratio of sauce to cheese was to my liking as neither overwhelmed the other.

Service at the bar was knowledgeable. We were never rushed and the bartender brought over several wines to taste before we selected a carafe.

We arrived at 1:30 pm and were able to get seats together at the bar, but every tables was occupied. Note that although the brother of one of my dining companions is an investor in the restaurant, Mozza did not know of this connection. Disclosure: I once worked for a very brief time in an Italian wine shop in Manhattan owned by Batali & Bastianich.

Pizzeria Mozza is located at 641 N Highland, at the corner of Melrose. Phone: 323. 297.0101 Website: http://www.mozza-la.com/pizzeria/about.cfm

1 comment:

  1. egg on a pizza? doesn't look like swine... but it does look good.