July 7: Stella Barra, 6372 Sunset Blvd, Hollywood
Ordered: 1 classic margherita (12″, $14.95 pre-tax).
We were excited to try one of the new LA-area pizza stars (pre-Book of Mormon: Hello!) … and then we weren’t. Stella Barra, as a place to eat and drink, is fantastic: a huge bar in the middle of a high-ceilinged well-windowed bustling restaurant about two blocks from Hollywood and Vine. The kitchen was visible to all diners, and they churned out the pies – not only because of their popularity on-site but also certainly due to the fact that they bake for both take-out and delivery. The pizza itself? Eh. The crust was a bit undercooked, the sauce wasn’t remarkably fresh-tasting, and it was a bit on the cheesy side. It was a looker, to be sure, but for an in-the-moment pizzeria claiming excellent napoletana’s, it wasn’t overly impressive.
Summary: Best setting, by far, of the LA-area pizza places on this list. But the pizza is merely solid – in the way that solid, to paraphrase Italo Calvino, sucks.