Daily Slice: Olio Pizzeria & Café, 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.
One year ago, pizzaiolo Bradford Kent lifted his French bread inspired crust from his mobile wood-fired oven into a storefront along a delicious stretch of 3rd Street. Olio Pizzeria & Café has steadily turned out crackly crusted pizzas with fresh—and just slightly unusual—toppings. The semi-circular restaurant is small but there is plenty of room at the pizza bar for lookie loos to watch him craft his pies.
While perusing the menu, a large sheet of mushrooms sizzle in the oven, so how could I resist the Wild Mushrooms & Herbed Ricotta Cheese pizza ($14.99). Over a blanket of sweet caramelized onion and silky French brie, the chewy fire roasted mushrooms are dotted with herbed ricotta. Finished with peppery baby arugula, this pizza might seem topping heavy, but the ménage is a delicate balance of flavors that could only be improved with a sprinkle of sea salt.
Though the Margherita Plus—with crushed tomatoes, Gioia burrata, Grana Padano and basil infused olive oil—is renown, who can say no to Mozzarella di Bufala? The special DOP Margherita Buffalo ($14.99) is spread with a mild crushed tomato sauce and covered with mounds of Mozzarella di Bufala that melt into milky pools of mellow cheese. The large leaves of basil float across the pie's face creating a light aromatic glaze over the entire pizza. Again, a salty dusting would complete this pie.
With just a hint of fermented sourness, the charred crust shatters then gives way to the soft baguette-like center. The spotted underside of the pizza hangs loosely under the wet cheese of the Margherita, but remains taut on the sauceless Wild Mushroom pie. Overall, the pizzas at Olio lean towards the mild side, but the understated strength of the crust promises that this will remain an enduring pizzeria in Los Angeles.