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Daily Slice: Culina, 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.
Hiding just steps away from the streets of Los Angeles is Culina, the al fresco dining patio at the Four Seasons, Beverly Hills. Instantly relaxing when the shade of the billowing canopy hits your face, the modern Italian menu offers a perfect mellow lunch. The buzz over Executive Chef Victor Casanova's Crudo Bar is deafening and the pasta dishes are killer—but not much has been said about Culina's pizza... yet.
Perusing the pizza menu—beginning with a traditional Margherita and ending with an aioli spotted Tonno pie—I was immediately enticed by the fennel and ricotta combination on the Giardino ($16). The thin stretched dough—crisp from tip to end with a crusty ridge that hides cavernous bubbles of mild chewy dough—is washed in pale San Marzano tomato sauce. The sunny red tomatoes peak out between the toppings, but it offers more color then flavor. Paper thin ruffles of zucchini lay beneath wispy ribbons of nearly raw fennel and micro cilantro. Dotted with milky sheep's ricotta and dark green dollops of salsa verde, these cool toppings finish with a surprising spicy bite.
With such nontraditional toppings and an otherwise strong menu, pizza will never be the main draw at Culina. But these pies could hold their own against many "pizza-only" establishments across the city.