Daily Slice: Margherita at Di Carlo, Los Angeles
Daily Slice gives a quick snapshot each weekday of a different slice or pie that the folks at the Serious Eats empire have enjoyed lately.
Lounging in Di Carlo's humming café atmosphere, it's a shame to see so many to-go orders. Their steaming pizza should be eaten directly from the 800 degree wood burning oven. The delicate balance of succulent sauce and crisp crust will vanish if allowed to sit too long. Particularly the Margherita ($12) with its saucy approach to an otherwise standard pie.
Like an old-world map, a haphazard landscape of Sepia-toned mozzarella is adrift in a sea of tomato sauce. Large pinches of basil are strewn across the top. The crackly browned edge-crust is filled with a narrow ring of fine white bread and then tapers down to a thin wet middle. The chewy crust has the lightest tinge of char along the floppy speckled bottom. Overall, the crust is understated, but serves its topping delivery purpose well.
The pizza's brightly flavored base is more like pasta sauce than the fresh tomato purée found on traditional Margheritas. Thick with tomato pulp, but not chunky, the sauce flows with a fine glaze of olive oil. As the slices are pulled apart, the cheese clings to the crust as glistening tomatoes ooze over the edge. Marinara would be a more suitable name for Di Carlo' Margherita since it's the tomato that stands out above all else — but Marinara, Margherita — it works!