Mother Dough: Bringing Pizza Bragging Rights to Silver Lake

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Wed, Aug 10, 2011 at 12:00 PM

click to enlarge Jonagold apples - F. FRIESEMA
  • F. Friesema
  • Jonagold apples

Am I the last person to discover the pizza at Mother Dough? Very well, I am the last. Because I have been at parties where I was asked about the pizzeria up to half a dozen times, and the smug Silver Lake dudes, the ones always trying to make excuses for their neighborhood's depressing lack of good restaurants, strut like pigeons whenever the name of the restaurant comes up.

Mother Dough is a long corridor of a dining room, chairs and tables strewn without regard to geometry or feng shui, with a permanently full waiting area at the street end and at the other a metal igloo of a woodburning pizza oven that looks hot enough, even from a distance, to forge swords. Pies, the menu asserts, cook in one minute in its blistering heat.

Bez Compani, the auteur, studied pizza making in Naples, the motherland. And his pizzas are unlike anything in Los Angeles -- or in Naples, come to think of it, but that's a different matter. A Mother Dough pie is soft and elastic, made from long-rise dough, paler than you think it should be but freckled with bits of char; not quite crisp, but having nothing to do with the undercooked excrescences that pass for pizza in some parts of town. Compani doesn't quite sign on to the strictest Neapolitan pizza standards -- you can get a sausage pizza if you want one, although it bears little resemblance to what you might find at Mozza or Sotto -- but he uses only bufala mozzarella, the toppings are sparely applied, and the pizza with prosciutto and arugula feels fresher and lighter than pizza has any right to be.

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