Hi, all. I'm a big fan of this site, and of this community. I read this board often, however rarely post. I consider myself a dedicated foodie, and I try to eat at the most acclaimed places of every ethnicity -- whether they're upscale or holes-in-the-wall (or on four wheels), and regardless of neighborhood. that's my intro.
I've long heard about the fabled Casa Bianca pizza as being the "best in LA." I live in West Hollywood, and hadn't yet made the pilgrimage to Eagle Rock for pizza. I'll set the stage a little... Today was a great day to eat pizza. I hadn't eaten anything since breakfast. When me & my girl strolled in to Casa Bianca around 5:00pm we were chilly, and famished. It was around 50 degrees outside, and the wind was gusting. Inside, the place was packed & lively & warm, and smelled great... All in all, these are what I would call very favorable conditions in which to enjoy large quantities of hot pizza! (right?)
okay, let's get to the pizza review... we ordered a large pie -- half vegetable (mushroom, olive, artichoke, etc.), the other half meatball & mushroom. it was incredibly below-average! what a disappointment. cardboard-y (machine-made?) crust. not merely frozen pizza-esque (because there have been some innovations in frozen pizza crusts); rather this was like Mama Celeste ("abundanza") low-budget frozen pizza crust! what a travesty. and the toppings... the veggies looked & tasted like they were out of a can; definitely the artichokes were, maybe the olives and mushrooms. the meatball half of the pizza was similarly uninspired. (and i don't care to hear about the much-ballyhooed fennel sausage, because that couldn't have redeemed this pizza -- i don't care if they sprinkled kobe beef on this.) This pie lacked honesty.
And of lesser importance, but reflective of the overall mediocrity: the garlic bread was phony, with a garlicky oily breadcrumb mixture slathered on warm rolls; and the cannoli came with multi-colored sprinkles on either side & maraschino cherry!
it wasn't that expensive, and besides, i don't even care about the price -- i'd pay double that for an culinary experience that had some authenticity/integrity to it.
(Seriously, I made homemade pizza for the 1st time ever a couple of weeks ago using a simple mark bittman recipe for the dough, trader joe's sauce (to save time), and good ingredients diced in cuisineart -- and it was much, much better than this place.)
There's just so many places to get a good pizza in LA: casa buono, mozza, terroni (even albano's on melrose & patsy's in the farmer's market), etc. Why go here? It's a california-style fraud, with a charming/inviting old neon sign out front.
dear alpha hounds,
(1) where do i get a list of all boards, national & international -- rather that the colorful jumble on the right of my page?
(2) when i go to a board & do a search, where is the option to list the results by date?!
i appreciate it.
i've eaten at nozawa every few months for about a decade, usually for lunch. the fish is always immaculate. with as much fish as they serve there it's almost inconceivable that a "bad" piece would find its way into the rotation; and if it did then it probably happens at le bernardin, too. law of randomness. yes, his joint is austere & he's a martinet. however i didn't realize master chefs (or any talented artists, for that matter) had to be pleasant, sympathetic or otherwise touchy-feely; there's lots of chummy sushi chefs at mediocre sushi places. perhaps you'd prefer those? i will say that on my last visit, a couple months ago, i noticed that the fish did come out a little faster... pre-cut? possibly, but that would be pre-cut, like, 15 seconds ago knowing that most people upon being seated immediately order the chef's choice. everybody gets the same great fish in the same progression.
and finally, you have to take some responsibility as a diner, too. especially if you're going to a place that has integrity. it's a reciprocal relationship, and you have a voice in the process. trust your palate, and have the courage of your convictions. the same principle applies at a quality taco stand, or at taillevent in paris. if i got a bad piece of fish at nozawa, i would definitely hand it to the server -- or his wife, who usually also serves -- and say, "this tastes funny." what would i be afraid of, getting thrown out? i have self-respect. and like any great restaurant, they do too. if they inadvertently serve something that's off, they'd probably be ashamed.