If Pizza is a Vegetable, Urbano is My New Favorite Salad Bar!! Urbano Pizza Bar. Downtown LA.
Hey, kids!! Pizza is veggies now and videogames is excercise!!!
If you haven't already heard, pizza is now a vegetable! Thanks to Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee, pizza is in the same group as broccoli, cauliflower and beets. I wish those sons of bitches decided that when I was a kid. I'd look more like Pizza the Hutt.
The timing of this couldn't be better for Los Angeles' pizza renaissance. There's a lot of good pie poppin' up on our grid lately. Thanks to joints like Pizzeria Mozza, the Nancy Silverton, Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich team-up restaurant, which began back in 2006 and has inspired many new artisan pizzerias, LA finally can boast of truly amazing pizza.
If pizza is the new veggies, then Urbano Pizza Bar is one awesome salad bar! Ilan Hall of The Gorbals and the unholy bacon-wrapped matzo balls has been guest chef for the past few months at this much needed pizza and beer sanctuary near central Downtown LA.
Having Top Chef-testant Ilan Hall make your pizza is like having Mario Andretti drive a school bus. It's penning up a raging bull. Although it seems to be an odd fit at first, the proof is in the pizza or vegetable or whatever you consider pizza now to be.
The twin wood-burning ovens encased by bricks are infernos of deliciousness. With their fuel stacked neatly beneath them, these ovens are ready to turn even the most mundane into crispy, flavorful satisfaction.
Take Urbano's grilled Artisan Table Bread. Simply amazing. Sexy dark grill marks punctuate the serious heat that these crispy carbohydrates were baked with. Crusty and light, the texture welcomed the freshly made Crushed Tomato Sauce topping, soaking it up and flavoring it through and through.
Take a grill pill.
Wood-fired Fingerling Potatoes with Soffrito looked nice and rustic, just as nature intended.
Finger lickin' good fingerlings!
Charred Corn with Balsamic Butter proved to be a fun and inventive dish. Snappy kernels of roasted corn were adorned with a curious balsamic butter that gradually melted and coated the corn, flavoring every bit with its unique sharp richness.
A Top Chef's buttered corn.
A mighty platter of Meatballs with Warm Pizza Bread was clear evidence that eating vegetables can satiate even the most savage of carnivorous appetites. Three hefty spheres of beef, nicely seasoned, sat atop a fluffy piece of pizza bread like an edible life raft.
Another eye-pleasing plate was the Baby Caponata: Eggplant, Zucchini & Vinegared Golden Raisins. Charred eggplant, miniature squash and zucchini dotted with capers and golden raisins was a far cry from Chef Hall's rebellious cuisine at The Gorbals.
If pizza is a vegetable, are these meats?
Heavenly thin sheets of pink flesh of La Querica Prosciutto Americano was presented and quickly devoured. This earthy sweet prosciutto maximized its simple ingredients of pork and sea salt.
Swine & sea.
If you think mozzarella cheese is happiness, the Mozzarella Trio is triple happiness. This vegetable-cheese platter has a lot going on: burrata with roasted tomato and basil pesto; smoked mozzarella with grilled radicchio and crushed tomato; fresh mozzarella with cherry tomato and basil oil. Each cheese is paired optimally with its veggies and flavorings.
Urbano specializes in Neapolitan style pizzas, which is to say they're trying to keep it real since pizza originated in Naples.
The Salsiccia slices were the first ones out and a flavorful combination of "fennel sausage, mozzasrella, caramelized onion and crushed tomato". The fennel sausage is nicely spiced and crisps up a bit in the oven for a pleasing texture.
Yes, I'm a fun guy who loves a good funghi pizza. One bite of Urbano's Funghi pizza and you are in mushroom heaven. Every bite is an intoxicating burst of wild mushroom flavor. The wild mushrooms are roasted and then baked on the pie with burrata cheese, thin slices of red onion, crushed tomato and thyme.
Magic mushroom pizza.
The Testa Verde was one of the more unique pizzas of the night with its baby spinach, herbed ricotta and Irish cheddar toppings. Green is the theme here and it made for a very tasty combo with the spinach contributing a surprisingly meaty texture. Maybe this pie was just named after the quarterback. Who knows?
The "green" pizza.
Another favorite of mine was the flavor explosion Selvatica pizza working in a variety of flavors and textures like gooey burrata, perky slow-roasted tomatoes, bright basil pesto and toasted pine nuts. Again, like the Testa Verde, there's no meat but it satisfies like a meat pizza with tons of tasty elements.
Salivate over the Selvatica.
Yes, I am saving the best pizza for last here. The creative Scimmietta pizza uses puréed pumpkin in place of tomato sauce. Other versions of this pizza plops on chunks of pumpkin like another topping. Urbano reinvents this pie and deftly applies a coat of the pumpkin purée without slogging it down since it's heavier than a tomato sauce. In addition, charred pieces of Applewood smoked bacon, gobs of goat cheese and green onion coalesce into one harmonious albeit strong flavor. This is a pizza with lots of personality.
Urbano does a lot with its higher gluten dough that's versatile enough to be everything from bread to pizza crust to, well, dessert.
An experimental pastry of sorts filled with ricotta and sticky fruit jam was also made with the dough. It was satisfyingly gloppy and gooey, just what you want in a dessert sometime.
Actually, I shouldn't even call this a dessert. Maybe I was eating a serving of fruit the whole time. Yeah, that's it. Fruit.
Eat your fruit!
Urbano Pizza Bar
630 W 6th St
Los Angeles, CA 90017