I recently wrote about how dining at Table No. 10 lead me to reconsider my anti-downtown stance. A place that good is worth the hassle of paying for parking and dodging errant pedestrians.
Pizzeria Mozza has undone all of that goodwill in one SWELL FOOP.
But let's start from the beginning. Pizzeria Mozza is a Mario Batali joint. You know, this guy...
The guy with the orange hair and even oranger Crocs. I've actually been to a few of his restaurants before, including sister restaurant Osteria Mozza in Los Angeles. The guy knows Italian food and does it well (even if his shoes are the most famous thing about him). So, we decided to try his outpost here in San Diego. It's located in a new development along the Embarcadero called The Headquarters at Seaport District.
The Headquarters at Seaport District's parking situation is a fucking nightmarescape where you have to use the valet (which, fine, I hate hunting for spots anyways) but can only get to it from one side of Harbor Drive. The other side from the one we drove up on, natch. We waited in traffic for a very long time as I watched our reservation time come and go.
But eventually we arrived and were seated on the front patio. The weather was perfect for sitting outside, but you're just sitting in the middle of a mall (sweet view of Sunglass Hut, yo.)
The menu had some pretty enticing options but was about 50% composed of italicized so fancy we don't even have a word for this in English! ingredients. We started with a cool beverage since we were outside.
It was good Sangria with not too much fruitiness. Drinking it made Jason look like a fancyman!
All of this fanciness was proooobably undone by the fact that I was wearing a Harvey Wallbanger truck hat, though. (And was surrounded by babies. I am trying really hard not to shit talk the other patrons of this restaurant, who were largely ubersuburban tourist families... but again, I was wearing a trucker hat. He who is without sin, etc.)
Pizza alla Benno: Tomato, mozzarella, speck, pineapple & jalapeno
This was good overall. It had a nice spicy-sweet combo with the sauce and jalapenos. The speck made it a bit difficult to eat with any grace since you can't really bit through it easily and it just comes sliding right off, hanging out of your mouth like a dog's tongue. Are you supposed to eat it like sushi and cram the whole thing in your mouth? Or are you supposed to cut it beforehand? What would MARIO BATALI do?
Oh yeah, and the crust was nice.
Bianca with fontina, mozzarella, sottocenere & sage
This one came out a little cold. The flavors were pleasant and the sage added a bit of pizzazz (or PIZZA-ZZ! Sorry.), but it didn't have the big cheese flavor that I'm more used to on white pizzas. You couldn't taste the sottocenere at all.
And oh yeah, I suppose the crust was also good.
- The hostess was friendly but our waiter seemed hungover and just generally over it (I feel ya bro, been there, but the key is to pretend you're not!)
- THE PRICES. I've never complained about the price of anything on here before, because I am not cheap. (In fact, I love throwing money at all my problems! It's a bad habit!) I know that good ingredients require prices to be higher. However, their prices are out of control high for the amount of deliciousness that ends up on the plate. The ratio is off.
- Downtown, you have fooled me again.
Verdict: goodish pizza, but not really worth the hassle and price.
The Headquarters at Seaport District
789 W. Harbor Drive
San Diego, CA 92101