Now that downtown L.A. (not all of L.A., just downtown) has been dubbed "America's Next Great City," it deserves more great pizza. Enter Pellicola Pizzeria at 8th and Hill streets, serving crisp, thin-crusted pies marrying New York and Neapolitan styles.
The sleek, mezzanined glass box of a restaurant, where you can get pies whole or by the slice, is from bar-and-restaurant impresario Cedd Moses of downtown's 213 Group and Neapolitan pizzaiolo Giulio Adriani of the Forcella pizzerias in New York and next to Moses' bar Golden Gopher.
"When Cedd approached me for this project ," Adriani says, "he asked me for a true New York style. So his reference point, his idea was Joe's pizza – and that’s for me my favorite New York slice. But of course being Neapolitan-oriented, I said, 'OK, we do something better. We create the right fusion between a Neapolitan dough with a little more sour taste, long fermentation, more enzymes, more flavor. We fuse with the New York style creating our own New York style pizza."
After testing and tasting dozens of variations, Adriani hit upon a pizza with the [crunchy-crusted] structure of a New York pie with the flavor of Italian dough, he says, using a blend of Caputo flour and American flour.
"If you use just Caputo flour, no matter what temperature you’re going to cook with, the Italian flour in the end will be a little more chewy in your taste buds. It needed to a more structured base -- that's why I added American flour.
"The technique of 24-hour fermentation outside of refrigeration with little amount of yeast makes it digestible and light. That’s what was my goal."
Pellicola, which means "film" in Italian and whose logo was inspired by the logo for Fellini's "Amarcord," serves eight pizzas, including the Nonna Maria with San Marzano tomato sauce, house-made mozzarella, basil, olive oil and Parmesan; Tricolore, whose toppings of pesto, tomato sauce and cheese with truffle oil are concentrically arranged; sausage; pepperoni; and a sweet Nutella pizza, which is double-crusted and filled with Nutella and sliced almonds.
Also on the menu are arancini, Adriani's grandmother's meatballs and fried pizza strips with Nutella and powdered sugar called angioletti, or little angels. Which is what Marcello Mastroianni called that waitress in the Intermezzo scene from "La Dolce Vita," which might be playing on the pizzeria's window projection screen.
But not on the menu is the montanara -- the pizza with the deep-fried crust served at Adriani's Forcella restaurants in Manhattan and Brooklyn. "I’ll leave that for my restaurant when I’m going to open here" in L.A., Adriani says. "Hopefully this summer."
421 W 8th St., Los Angeles, (213) 614-8000.