Daily Slice: Obikà, Los Angeles

Daily Slice

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[Photographs: Kelly Bone]

The Italian mozzarella purveyor, Obikà, is slowly creeping into the US market. Importing mozzarella di buffalo (yes, made with real bufala milk) three times a week, they seek to seamlessly blend imported Italian ingredients with local produce. In March, the Los Angeles location became the first in America to introduce Obikà's style of pizza.

The Pomodoro Biologico ($12) with organic Italian tomatoes, mozzarella di bufala, and fresh basil highlight the Italian ingredients. The sauce is the star of this pizza. Vivid and tart, its freshness forgives the fact that it overwhelms the cheese. Slivers of basil add just enough aroma.

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Neapolitan-inspired but distinctly different from any Neapolitan-style I've ever had, it doesn't supplant my affection for more traditional styles. But it is a refreshingly modern take on Italian pizza. This distinction is in Obikà's 48 hour proofed crust, made with a stone ground Petra flour from Italy's Molino Quaglia (my first encounter with this flour was at Hostaria del Piccolo). When this location first opened, Petra 3 flour—used at all the other Obikà locations—was unavailable. So a blend of hearty Petra 9 (typically used for breads) was used, giving the crust a wheaty/grem-flecked texture. The difference between the two flours is sort of explained in this video.

At a recent dinner, the thin tender crust was clearly made with the Petra 3. Large charred bubbles from the gas Mugnaini oven rose off the thin outer crust as the center absorbed the sauce, becoming soft and slightly chewy. Without the prominence of whole wheat, this pizza has—in my opinion—improved. According to CEO Raimondo Boggia, who happened to be playing host at when I was in, they haven't decided which flour to stick with. I'm voting for the Petra 3.

Obikà Mozzarella Bar

10250 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA (map) 310-556-2452; obikala.com