While others fondly recalled their fennel sausage pizza or their butterscotch budino with a hint of drool on their face, J and I could only talk about the 4:30 PM or 10:30 PM reservations we'd turned down. For J's birthday, however, I was determined to change our Mozza-less-ness and booked surprise reservations a month in advance.
What's left to say about Mozza that hasn't been said already? Founded by superchefs Nancy Silverton, Mario Batali and Joseph Bastianich in 2007 and helmed by Matt Molina (announced today as one of the final nominees for the 2010 James Beard Awards), Pizzeria Mozza is still one of the hottest reservations in town and is often heralded as the best pizza in LA.
Would the food live up to the hype? J and I were about to see.
We started with the Mozza caprese ($12). I've eaten my fair share of caprese in both the US and Italy, but this dish was absolutely mindblowing. Each tasty tomato literally exploded with juice when I cut into it, and the pesto and mozzarella cheese were delicious to the tenth power. There was a thin, crunchy layer of something on the cheese that I couldn't identify but, whatever it was, it worked and was gooood. I seriously need to look into whether or not crack is an ingredient in this dish because I am jonesing for my next Mozza caprese fix.
I ordered the famed Squash blossom, tomato and burrata pizza ($22), which lived up to every rave review I have ever heard. I've never eaten squash blossoms (which are, apparently, so delicate and perishable that grocery stores don't bother to carry them), but I'm now a fan. The giant mounds of burrata can only be described with one word-- "NOM." And the crust! Flavorful! Crunchy! *Swoon* $22 is a lot to pay for pizza, but this is worth every cent.
The birthday boy ordered the Prosciutto di parma, rucola, tomato and mozzarella pizza ($15). Wow, were the prosciutto and the rucola fresh and tasty. This one had a little too much going on flavor-wise for my taste, but J happily gobbled it up.
As wonderful as the food was, however, it was overshadowed by very poor service. Our waitress paid us no attention while being completely attentive of all of her other tables and didn't even mention J's birthday, let alone celebrate it with, say, a complimentary glass of wine or dessert. I noted the special occasion both when I made the reservation online and when I called to change the reservation time but was willing to chalk the omission up to the information getting lost in translation...until I saw our check, which had "BDAY" clearly written on it. After going out of our way to go to Pizzeria Mozza to celebrate a special event, J and I left feeling neglected and disappointed despite the delicious dinner.
I've since emailed the manager of Pizzeria Mozza and received a very nice, completely apologetic response, asking for my phone number to call me tomorrow, which I greatly. appreciate. We'll see what happens! The food was so good that I'd hate for this bad experience to turn me and J off from Mozza for forever.
I'll post an update after I speak with the manager.
641 N. Highland Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036