Concept: A Neapolitan-style pie shop by food stylist Tobi Martin, Shad Davis (the Federal) and Spaceland Presents' Mitchell Frank and Partners (the guys behind Echoplex, Knitting Factory) in The Regent Theater in downtown L.A. The restaurant is named after T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" (but for no discernable reason). It's a spot with reasonably priced pizzas and good quality toppings designed to service hungry concert-goers and locals.
What dish represents the restaurant, and why? The Toto or salumi pie. The ToTo is made with a gluten-free cauliflower crust for the growing number of Angelenos kicking gluten to the curb (for health reasons or otherwise). It's topped with fresh mozzarella and diced tomatoes, ribbons of basil and a balsamic vinaigrette. The crust is thin, but holds the toppings well, and you get a little crunch around the edges. With each bite, you get that's it's not bread, but by the time you decide how you feel about it, you've eaten the entire thing. For those looking for pizza with a true Neapolitan-style crust, there's the salumi pie and its symphony of toppings, including salty salumi, San Marzano tomatoes, roasted fennel, roasted garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, grated mozzarella, smoked mozzarella and some sharp caciocavallo cheese.
Runners-up? The cashier's favorite pie, the Bianca. It's topped with smoked mozzarella, Gruyere, Parmesan, oregano, sweet, caramelized garlic, sea salt, chopped mushrooms and truffle oil. There's a tempting option to add pancetta, but it's really not necessary.
Who’s at the next table? A grungy couple with expensive cameras slung around their necks, stopping in to grab a couple pies, and an elderly couple marveling at an entire pizza crust made out of cauliflower. "There's really no flour in there at all?"
Appropriate for: A quick bite (the pizzas take mere minutes to cook in the 900-degree oven) before or after a show at The Regent Theater, or a good option to visit on your lunch break.
What are you drinking: Italian beers and wine selected by El Prado bar's Matt Saunders. You can also head to The Lovesong Bar, adjacent to the restaurant, for a mezcal Old Fashioned, Manhattan or tequila sour, all with ridiculous names.
Service: Counter service. The young man at the cash register is friendly, eager to make suggestions, and is willing to make small talk while you wait for your pizza.
Uh-oh: If you're a reader of poetry, the name Prufrock may may irk you. Because without any sawdust on the floor or billowing yellow smoke, naming it after Eliot's poem seems completely random. This will end up occupying your brain space while you chew on your cauliflower crust. Also, there's no reason for your meatballs to be cooked, or served on a skewer.
Info: 448 S. Main St., Los Angeles, (213) 985-4331, www.theregenttheater.com/prufrock-pizzeria/.
I order extra anchovies on my pies. Follow me on Twitter @Jenn_Harris_