When we’re talking pizza, it all comes back to the crust. And when Pizzeria Mozza comes under discussion, it’s quite specific—how does Mozza Newport Beach’s crust compare to the L.A. original? Senior Editor Chris Christensen shares some thoughts on the matter after a recent visit.
When Pizzeria Mozza rode into town, there was much talk about whether its pizza tastes the same as it does at the original L.A. Mozza. I think it does, and my foodie friends agree. But several top O.C. chefs I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing recently notice a slight difference. They say it’s delicious, but isn’t as crisp as L.A.’s, then offer up theories that range from “They must have a different oven,” to “They may not be baking it long enough,” to “It’s the humidity from being right on the ocean.”
The latter seems the most likely. As anyone knows who bakes bread and experiences the idiosyncrasies of flour and yeast, such distinctions can make a huge difference.
Fast forward to the pizza I ordered on a recent Saturday night at Mozza O.C. First, let me say it was delicious, but this time the crust was crispy—as in c-a-r-r-u-n-c-h!—and, I swear, thinner. It had what our chefs said was missing. So what gives? Did they tinker with the recipe? Bake it longer?
We may never know for sure. Emily Corliss, Mozza O.C.’s talented chef, wasn’t in-house this night to ask. And getting her on the phone takes more coordination than spinning a pizza in the air and sipping wine at the same time. But I did talk to a young woman employee who assured me there was no change at all to the recipe. In any case, the crust is even better now, and it was already very good, so perhaps it took time for things to shake out in the kitchen.
Footnote: Next time you order dessert there, take a pass on the famed butterscotch budino just once, and get the Caramel Coppetta: a scoop each of vanilla and caramel gelatos, a pool of marshmallow sauce, and a scattering of salted Spanish peanuts—guaranteed addiction.—Chris Christensen