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Daily Slice: Mulberry Street Pizzeria, 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.

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[Photographs: Kelly Bone]

The slice. It's the basis by which many of us judge pizza. If it sucks, why waste stomach room on toppings... This is the very thinking that made me call quits on Mulberry Street Pizzeria after a bad slice encounter. But for the sake of Slice-super-science, I tagged myself back in.

The Cheese Slice ($3.50) is still to be avoided. The tinny, over-herbed sauce cannot hide under the sheets of aged mozzarella on this unimpressive crust. It's really one of the worst slices I've had in a while. The crust is pliable, quickly losing its crispness. I was fascinated by a kid across from me holding his slice curled up in his fist. Try to imagine it! That being said, the white flour flavored crust—at least when it's still crisp—is the best part of the slice.

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When it comes to toppings, the quality isn't that high. But the they manage to balance (mask) out the mediocre sauce and mozzarella. The following recommendations omit one of these two offenders:

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The White Spinach ($4.25) omits the sauce for creamy ricotta. Leaves of fresh spinach float across the like a photo of the jellyfish take at an aquarium. Now, I'm pro-veggies on my pizza, but I readily admit that this sparse application of greens adds nothing to the flavor of this pie. Still, it's a simple creamy white slice, with just enough salt to give it dimension.

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The Rigatoni ($4.50) replaces mozzarella with ricotta. I'm not a fan of pasta on my pizza, but this worked for me in a most unusual way. However, with the slow turnover of this by-the-slice pizza, the rigatoni dries out. Add to that the reheat in the deck oven, and you're left with chewy tubes of extremely un-al dente pasta. Mixed with the moist ricotta, these work with the canny flavors of the sauce. Plus they add both a soft and crunchy texture to each bite.

What I'm really saying is: Order the pizzas with ricotta.

When it comes to slices, Vito's and Joe's cast a large shadow on Los Angeles. Still, Mulberry is a top choice when craving an unpretentious meal in Beverly Hills

Mulberry Street Pizzeria

240 South Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210 (map)
310-247-8100; mulberrypizzeria.com

About the author: After nearly a decade in Brooklyn, Kelly Bone landed back in Los Angeles where she writes The Vegetarian Foodie. She spends the rest of her time designing office cubicles... you might be sitting in one right now! Follow her on Twitter at @TheVegFoodie

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