Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Stella Rossa Pizza (Santa Monica)

The latest buzz on pizza in LA has been coming from Stella Rossa Pizza in Santa Monica. Stella Rossa is a sister restaurant of and shares an entrance with M Street Kitchen on Main St. The chef, Jeff Mahin, comes from a fine dining background, including The Fat Duck and L2O. He says he's now doing what he's always wanted to do, making pizza. (Is it just me or is there a movement of fine dining chefs turning into making sandwiches and burgers and pizzas).

Upon placing our order, the server suggested we order a different appetizer since we're getting a white pizza, but my friend has never had burrata before so I insisted that we order some.

Fresh local burrata ($10.95) with organic extra virgin olive oil, sea salt
BurrataThe burrata is made locally (in Baldwin Park) by Di Stefano and was one of the creamiest you can find in this city. I would've been very happy with the burrata and olive oil alone, but the sweet grapes made for an amazing accompaniment. Every piece of grape I had that night was sweet and ripe. Remember the scene in Ratatouille where Remy makes Emile try eating a chunk of cheese and a piece of grape at the same time?

Moving on, we opted for the Spinach and purple kale salad ($9.95) with pecorino romano, medjool dates, shaved radishes, mustard vinaigrette.

Purple Kale Salad
Fresh, crisp greens, not over dressed. It's a great, simple salad. This seems to be the aim of this restaurant. Simple dishes done with fresh ingredients, yet there's that extra touch that elevates the dish like the grapes with the burrata and the dates here.

The pizzas are separated into three categories: red pizzas, white pizzas, and the daily selection of Thin Sin, their "super thin, extra light pizza crust". We ordered one of the white pizzas, the Shaved Mushroom ($13.95) with gruy√®re, melted onions, black truffle, torn parsley, rosemary, thyme
Mushroom Pizza
When asked about his "style" of pizza, it isn't any particular regional style. The crust underneath is thin but the edges are airy. Chock full of mushrooms, the pizza had a great earthy flavor which works well with the mustry gruyere. I didn't see many truffles but it had a strong truffle (oil?) aroma. I liked the chewy, airy edges of the dough but next time I want to try the thin sin, as I usually prefer thin crust.

There weren't too many dessert options so we went for the butterscotch pudding topped with sea salt

Once again, simple but done well. My friend did note that they seem to really like adding sea salts here!

Since I've only tried one pizza, I can't say if this is the best new pizza place in town or not, but I enjoyed the consistency of their dough and I'll be returning to try the others. Verdict so far: promising.

Stella Rossa Pizza Bar
2000 Main St.
Santa Monica, CA 90405
(310) 396-9250
Stella Rossa Pizza Bar on Urbanspoon

Disclosure: this meal was hosted.



I, too, prefer a thin crust. But your observation is astute: I'm seeing a lot of fine dining chefs moving into comfort food. So far, it seems to be always burgers (Joseph Mahon, Hubert Keller, Charlie Palmer, to name a few) pizza!!

About time...I was getting tired of burgers.

Great review BTW!


so how does it compare to settebello's in pasadena?

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