Most fast foods have their natural sidekicks: burgers have their fries. Fried chicken has its mashed potatoes. But pizza? Pizza usually flies solo, content with committing crimes against calories all by its lonesome. Every once in a while, though, it is nice to see pizza partnered up, and we personally enjoy our pizzas with warm garlic knots riding shotgun.
Like a good sidekick though, a good knot is not easy to find: they are only as good as the pizza dough that forms them. In this Food Fight, then, we match homegrown Pizzanista! against New York implant Joe's Pizza in a battle of the have-knots.
Pizzanista! is a small pizza joint right outside the outskirts of the Arts District on 7th Street. Other than dull yellow street lamps and headlights from the occasional Greyhound groaning its way to the nearby terminal, it's a generally dark, quiet street after business hours. When you do find Pizzanista! in a building that seems to have gone out of its way to be painted black, you'll find thick Sicilian and New York-style thin crust slices, as well as garlic knots. These knots are twisted like cinnamon buns, as fun to pull apart as they are to eat. Served warm with a healthy sprinkle of Parmesan and infused with garlic, these were quite tasty. Unsurprising, perhaps, given that the Sicilian slice was just as doughy and fluffy as the knots.
Joe's Pizza brought New York-style pies to Los Angeles a few years ago, much to the relief of New Yorkers who nonetheless still gripe about the lack of good pizza in this town. As good as Gotham or not, Joe's serves some of the best pizzas in the city, so we had high hopes for the garlic knots.
Unlike Pizzanista!, Joe's knots are served with a side of marinara sauce. And, unlike Pizzanista!, these are not so much knotted as they are garlic buns, which takes just a little bit away from the fun of undoing the knot. But lack of fun wasn't the only problem with these knots. They also were too dry and overwhelmed nearly everything with much too much garlic. The marinara sauce, quite good on its own, helped a bit, but it ultimately was too mild to stand up against the vampire-killing abilities of these knots.
Joe's has great pizzas, but it is (k)not the winner here. Pizzanista!'s cheesy, garlicky, twisty balls of dough is a worthy Gromit to pizza's Wallace. These knots can be our wingman anytime.
Pizzanista: 2019 E. 7th Street, Los Angeles; (213) 627-1430.