Sunday, December 11, 2011
641 N Highland Ave
Pizzeria Mozza is owned by celebrity chef, Mario Batali and has been a hit for LA diners since it opened in 2007. My understanding is that Nancy Silverton is in charge of the menu and it's her recipes. Whatever the situation is, I've wanted to try Mozza and finally got a chance. I made reservations about a month in advance, and I'm glad I did. When I arrived Mozza was packed, I mean just packed full of snotty, full of themselves, asshole pretentious people!! I thought I was on the Westside!!
While waiting for my friends to arrive, a couple walked out of Mozza, and said "I can't believe the earliest time for a table is 10:15pm." It was about 5pm, when this happened!! So make a reservation!!
Pizzeria Mozza is a fairly small restaurant that is divided into two areas, a larger, much louder room and the smaller, much quieter "wine cellar" It's not really a cellar, it's just room where some wine is stored. But, it's much quieter and a great setting for a good dinner with friends.
I got the "meat lovers" pizza, bacon, salame, fennel sausage, guanciale, tomato, and mozzarella, $19. The pizzas are 10in, personal sized pizza. I didn't know what guanciale was, so I asked the server and he told us, it is an Italian bacon made from the cheeks of the pig. Later, googled guanciale and it's an unsmoked bacon.
Anyways, the first thing I noticed was the size of the sausage, huge, full of bold fennel flavor. They use quality ingredients for this sausage. There was a couple slices of the regular bacon, which was fine, but nothing memorable or outstanding. The guanciale was pretty good, but I prefer smoked bacon. The salame was shaped like pepperoni and had a nice kick to it. The mozzarella was nicely melted and flavorful. The tomato sauce also had a nice kick to it.
But, what ruined the pizza for me was the crust. This may have been among the worst crust I've ever had! A cracker thin crust, that didn't hold up the toppings well towards the center and crunched on the outer edges. That's not my kind of crust.
Overall, the pizza was worth the high price tag, because of the great quality of the meats, not because of the crust.
Service was good, when we saw the server. The hostess was nice and welcoming. She greeted me and every other customer I saw, with a smile and hello. The server was nice and friendly, he patiently answered our questions, but he wasn't really around that much. He came take our order, give us our bill, and then take our money. That's it. I realize the "wine cellar" was packed but there were only about 8-10 tables. It was so busy that we saw the bus boy more than our server.
Afterwards, I went to Mozza To Go, where you can order, pizzas and salads to go, to pick up a menu. The interesting thing I found, is that the meat lovers pizza from Pizzeria Mozza is different than the meat lovers from Mozza To Go, instead of guanciale, they have pancetta. Why they wouldn't use the same toppings for both places, I don't know.
Frankly, I didn't have that high of expectations for Pizzeria Mozza. I don't get the hype about celebrity chefs. So what the owner maybe on TV, doesn't mean his cooking is worth a damn. I could care less that Mario Batali owned Pizzeria Mozza. But, many people buy into the hype. Though I was very impressed with the quality toppings, the crust was horrible. I wouldn't go back to Pizzeria Mozza, unless other friends wanted to go.