Friday, October 2, 2009

Dining on Deep Dish: Masa, Echo Park

We had 200% intentions to go to Andiamo in Silverlake. The last time I dined on Andiamo cuisine, it was a year ago. A magical evening including a bottle of Rombauer Chardonnay and also the last time I had a back massage and foot massage. I will withhold saying whether or not it was from a professional.

Back to the year 2009, and guess what, Andiamo has closed it doors. We wanted BYOB no corkage, succulent pizza, no frills, and to stay in the East. Answer to our prayers: Masa, a do-over status worthy establishment by all means. This particular occasion was probably my 6th time. It all started when some Chicago friends of mine wouldn't shut their pie holes about their nifty deep dish pizza back home, thus sparking a mission to find deep dish sumpin sumpin here in our very own City of the Angels, land of 10 million inhabitants. There had to be something. And that day the seas (cough, I mean the concrete and disfigured palm trees) parted and there was Moses - I mean Masa.
When you know your deep dish pizza will take 50 minutes to make, it gives you peace of mind. They really are making a deep pizza and layering all the toppings into your saucy, cheesey cylinder dough baby. They really do have to bake it extra long because it's so fatty and dense.
Additionaly, when you have an extra 50 minutes on your hand, you have time to enjoy that bottle (or two) of vino you brought, or the delicious beer they brew on site. You also have time to savor the wonderful non-pizza items of Masa's bounty.
The first dish I've ever had at Masa and from there on have always ordered is the Manchego salad. Ah Manchego, how I love thee. It's different every time, whether its a finer cut salad, or an addition/substitution or various fruits and vegetables but almost always the standard of baby lettuce, dates, granny smith apples, caramelized walnuts, with a pear dressing, balsamic and of course, the manchego crown.
Next up: garlic bread. Three out of four times I've had the garlic bread my socks blew off into outer space. So much garlic it hurts so good. I insisted to my dinning companions this was the best, but I believe they were let down and so was I. Maybe just an off night, so I would still give it another whirl in the future because the batting average has been good. Might just nudge the waitress next time to make sure they put extra garlic, like we are crazy or something.
We ordered one of the specials that night: gnocchi with ragu. The gnocchi was indeed heavy and slightly on the chewey side. The ragu was rustic and bursting with rich tomato flavor. Yet somehow none of us could focus on this gnocchi. We had our hearts set on something else in the future.
And here she is boys and girls...
Thanks to Masa, I can die believing I've had authentic deep dish pizza without ever having the best of the Windy City. I believe in this pizza, and so should you, my friends. On this occasion we opted for the "Traditional" with sweet Italian sausage and mushroom. On previous conquests, I've had both the vegetarian versions, which I usually stick to. On this visit I was outnumbered by carnivores and alas, the time had come to eat meat. Sure glad I did.
I dare anyone to tell me this is not deep dish pizza like they have in Chicago. Double dog.

And of course I saved room for one more slice, as well as one of my champion eater dinning companions. Bread Pudding. One of the best I've ever had. By far, the most generous slice I've ever had. Chocolatey, almondy, vanilla custardy, buttery goodness with a surprise in every bite. Some bites bitter sweet chocolate. Some had eggy custard. Some had yeasty sweet bread goodness (and I don't mean the organs everyone is eating these days). Masa never lets you down, always fills you up and sends you home with aluminum objects for later consumption.

Masa of Echo Park

1800 West Sunset Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90026

(213) 989-1558


Ruth Abatzoglou said...

I am not a big fan of bread pudding, but the picture you posted here looks great. By the way, you took a very good photo of the rosemary in the deep dish pizza, I can almost smell it. Love Mom

Diana said...

Next time you go, bring me (and then I'll bring the wine)!!! I prefer my pizzas vegetarian style and I can tell you fo sure if they live up to the deep dish pies I ate in Chi-town during college. It's a win-win situation all around. :)

Banana Wonder said...

Ruthie, I think even you would like this bread pudding. Yeah, I was never crazy about the bp either, but have warmed to it after living in LA.

Diana, Yes - you WOULD know if this is the real deal. One veggie deep dish coming right up!

SinoSoul said...

I will NEVER defend a thick crust pie so.. my BYOB pizza joint will forever be Garage in Silver Lake. Give 'em a try. Super nice folks, the ONLY NYC slice with BYOB.

Exile Kiss said...

Hi Anna A.,

Nice post. I had no idea there was a Chicago Deep Dish Pizza joint in Echo Park. Thanks for the info. :)

Banana Wonder said...

Tony, haha you no likey thick crust / deep dish? I've been to garage once and it was indeed quite tasty esp w/ negro modelos from the near by liquor store.

Exile K, thanks! It's good to know we don't need southwest airlines for our deep dish!