But this wasn't just any lunch, kids. This was my first experience at Pizzeria Mozza! Yes, that's right, I bought into the hype. Actually, I've been dying to try the place out since even before it opened, when my fave food columnist (actually, favorite all-around columnist), Pulitzer Prize-winning Jonathan Gold sang its praises. So imagine my utter and complete JOY upon realizing that my new job at Look-Look put me directly diagonally across Melrose and Highland to the latest Holy Grail of Pizza-Eating!
Fast forward 11 months later...and I had yet to go. Reservations for the place are still as elusive as aforementioned Grail, plus money's been a bit tight and the urge for this splurge never came at a good time financially speaking. And then suddenly a new job popped up, and I was about to be forced far, far away from the Pizza Lunch that appeared destined to never happen.
And then...just when I thought the bosses at LL could never do right by me...Sharon canceled one of those hard-won lunches. Rather than let the prize once again slip through my fingers, I held onto it tightly. And so it was, that Megan, Sara, KG and I enjoyed a lovely lunch in the Mario Batali/Nancy Silverton mecca.
Boy, that was a long time coming, eh? Both the meal for me and this little review for you!
Anyway, we were bustled in with the rest of the Friday lunch crowd. It's not a large place, but the atmosphere is made homey by the rust and goldenrod-colored walls. There was a film crew there for some reason or another, just in case we had forgotten that we were very much in Hollywood. The restaurant is not great in terms of sound-control--being the 'scene' it is, it was packed pretty quickly, and I felt almost as if I was in a bar, with the amount each of us had to speak up to be heard.
Our utensils were individually wrapped in paper with the Mozza logo--again, do we really need this reminder of where we are? The placemats were cute, though, covered with Italian cartoons. Who cares if I didn't have a clue about what they said beyond "I"?
Megan was the only non-Mozza virgin amongst us, and she recommended that we all split some appetizers. Out of respect for KG's tryst with veganism, we got all veggie-ful, dairy & meat-free treats: the Eggplant Caponata (described by one as really good ratatouille), the Brussel Sprouts (supposed to come with prosciutto breadcrumbs, which I am SO curious about, but we forewent them) and the Beets with Horseradish. The last of these was veeery light on the horseradish--it looked almost like tiny flower buds on top of the lovely purple vegetable--but still packed plenty of wallop! The fave of the table was definitely the eggplant. Though all of these came out in bowls not much larger than regular sized ramekins, we all got good samplings of each app. We also got a serving of the White Bean Bruschetta, which I probably could have polished off on my own. Loves me some white beans and good bread.
Less exciting was the salad, which was Rucola (a type of leaf that looks rather like overgrown clovers), mushrooms (white-yawn) and fresh Parmesan, the most redeeming part of this dish, but not enough to save it, or rather me, from boredom.
As I had been dreaming about Silverton's pizzas for months on end, I insisted on getting one for myself. I decided on the Goat Cheese, Scallion, Leek and BACON.
Upon digging in, I discovered the added bonus of roasted garlic cloves.
Now, this pizza. It was large, a bit big for a personal pie, although if you were really hungry, it would probably be easy to finish. One of the great things about the pie was just how fresh the ingredients were. I think maybe they keep a goat in back just for its milk and resultant cheese. The leeks were shredded thinly; I had never seen them prepared that way before, and I think that really helped emphasize and spread out their flavor a bit, if that makes sense. The bacon was a little sweet (maple cured) and a little fatty. And yeah, so sue me...I kinda liked that. The crust was crispy and generally delicious. My one beef was that it was a bit too oily. I get that you're not using tomato sauce...that doesn't mean you have to oversaturate your crust to compensate.
KG and Sara split the one vegan pie on the menu, just tomato sauce and oregano. It was very heavy on the oregano and really not much else. When you highlight your sauce so nakedly, I really think it needs to pop. This one did not.
I really wanted to get dessert, but the rest of the ladies apparently have smaller stomachs than I and were ready for the bill. It's ok, though...now that I have experienced Mozza once, I know I have to come back, with more friends, with David, with any miscellaneous visiting family. It is a classy, warm place with an upscale and creative, yet accessible (hello, pizza) menu, and in my opinion, worth the hype. As KG said when we first sat down, I looked like a kid in a candy store...and believe me when I say I left that candy store full and happy!