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Pizzeria Mozza

November 7, 2011

Pizzeria Mozza is a big deal in LA for a few reasons, not the least of which is the fact that it is a joint business effort from Mario Batali and his perhaps equally influential western counterpart, Nancy Silverton. There are other reasons, of course, but none of them matter so much as the food. Last Friday I had unequivocally the best pizza of my life.

Faced with too many options, I asked the bartender for guidance. He pointed me to a pie I was considering anyway, the tomato and white anchovy with Fresno chiles. It was expensive, $16 for a 10-inch, but understandably so; owing to the Italian mentality that good ingredients simply prepared will speak for themselves, everything on the pizza, from the crust at the bottom to the olive oil finish, was distinctly special.

The pizza was bright and spicy, with a salty balance provided by the anchovies and the maldon sprinkled on the crust. The crust itself was crunchy and chewy, with a sweet olive oil presence that underscored every bite. Slightly different from Mario’s approach at OTTO, these pies bake for a longer period in a cooler oven, resulting in a more golden bread quality than Mario’s scorched New York equivalents. The results in this case are a total melding of flavors in perfect balance.

I ordered  affogato for dessert, and was again struck by the quality of each simple ingredient. The espresso was so much stronger, more dense and flavorful than any I’d had. The ice cream was dead simple, which allowed the coffee to completely transform it when poured over top. I don’t know if I would go quite as far as Ed Levine did, but I can certainly understand why Pizzeria Mozza is always brought up when debating this country’s best pizza.

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