I wouldn't have guessed that the Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Echo Park environs needed another pizza joint. The area seems quite over-run by pizzerias and vegan cafés. But it turns out that I was wrong. What we actually desperately needed was a Neapolitan pizzeria.
As is often the case these days, I am a little late to the game. Mother Dough on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Feliz has been open since last February. I read about it when Jonathan Gold wondered, "am I the last person to discover the pizza at Mother Dough," in August. Well here it is November and I can finally say that I have eaten the Neapolitan goods at Mother Dough.
I'm not sure how I survived without Mother Dough. I want to be eating this kind of pizza in this atmosphere a lot more often. It was so cold out last Saturday night, but inside Mother Dough it was cozy as can be, the lighting warm from exposed filament bulbs and the room glowing from the 850 degree wood-burning oven in the back. I like the spare decor and brick walls.
Mother Dough is a no-reservation kind of place. This tends to get on my nerves, because it's usually impossible to wait around for a table when I'm eating out with Fe. And as Fe. (turning 3 this month!) gets older, it is more and more fun to dine out with him. In any event, we showed up at six o'clock p.m. on Saturday night, just as the restaurant was opening and there was no problem getting a table. Hurrah!
The menu is succinct and focused with only a handful of starters and five pizzas. The place mats offer a rundown of what to expect. Why is the crust charred? How long does it take to cook the pizza in the 850 degree oven (60 seconds!)? Why use only buffalo mozzarella? Why have our pizzas arrived at different times? What is the significance of Mother Dough? Apparently the Mother Dough folks have been asked some of these questions many times.
There were four of us. I was dining with A., Mo., and Fe. We opted to start with the mixed olives, always a nice beginning and a sure-fire hit with Fe. We followed with the burrata salad, which was surprisingly generous. An unruly tangle of arugula dressed in a fairly spicy vinaigrette made a vibrant bed for a hefty portion of exquisite burrata. Typically when I have to share a burrata appetizer, I'm wishing there were fewer people at the table. In this case, there was plenty to go around. Sliced heirloom tomatoes and two crostini rounded out the dish. With more than enough to share, this is a very tasty and satisfying way to begin your meal.
We ordered three of the twelve-inch pizzas. The best way to judge a pizzeria is to sample its Margherita, pizza at its purest. So that was at the top of our order along with a white pie strewn with an abundance of julienned zucchini and fragrant thyme. We couldn't deny ourselves the house-made sausage pizza either.
I'll start by saying that A. was pining for these pizzas the very next night. And just this morning I was ruing the fact that Mother Dough is not open for lunch. I need to get my hands on this pizza again really soon. I'm positively craving it.
These pizzas were extraordinarily good. The crust is chewy with lightly crisp edges and bits of char; the flavor salty and yeasty. The red sauce is pure tomato, acidic and sweet (but not overly so). At first you might actually miss it on the zucchini pie, but you'll recover as you continue to tear into the delicious garlicky and herbaceous ode to summer squash. The trick is to order several pizzas with sauce and perhaps one without. Thus you'll find the perfect balance.
The sausage pizza is also terrific, but for my taste I prefer crumbly mounds to the slices of sausage at Mother Dough. I believe the sausage pie was A.'s favorite, and Fe. kept snatching rounds of it off others' slices. Naughty boy! So there is no denying the success of this choice. I personally was thrilled to have another cheesy and saucy pizza in our midst.
I'll admit that my absolute favorite was the Margherita. It was perfection in its simplicity. Lightly sauced and sparingly topped with buffalo mozzarella and fresh basil leaves, this is the pizza that is calling me back.
I have to tell you that this is not cheap pizza. The pizzas themselves run about fifteen bucks a piece. Our meal as detailed above plus two beers, two glasses of wine and a pop cost approximately $100 before tax and tip. So yeah, not cheap, but I found that our dinner was absolutely worth it. The setting is lovely and the food it turns out is exactly what the neighborhood needed.
4648 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90027