Restaurant: Milo and Olive
Location: 2723 Wilshire Blvd. Santa Monica, CA 90403. p 310.453.6776
Date: June 30, 2012 and June 15, August 9, & Sept 13, 2013
Rating: Very good neo-Neapolitan
There is a definite pizza revival trend going on. LA used to have no good pizza at all (and this was painful having spent so much time in Italian American dominated East Coast cities) but this has all changed. Like it’s cousin, Pizzeria Mozza, Milo and Olive is of the new generation of third (?) wave Neapolitan pizza.
The place is new, crowded, and tiny. They don’t take reservations so come very early or be prepared to wait.
Spiced carrot soup. Delicious, with a bit of coconut milk to richen it up and complement the spices.
CROSTINI house ricotta, blistered cherry tomatoes, basil. Tastes like pizza. haha.
“Marinated artichokes, spinach, toasted pine nuts, capers, golden raisins, goat cheese.”
BURRATA PANZANELLA heirloom tomatoes, house croutons, shallots, tomato vinaigrette.
WOOD FIRED PEAR. Baby kale, pomegranate seeds, goat cheese, pistachio, lemon vinaigrette.
Special: champagne grapes (warm) with crostini and fresh ricotta. A surprising and delicious combination.
Special: fig and ricotta crostini.
Branzino ceviche. Peaches, cucumber, avocado, sumac. While more of a “tartar” than a ceviche, this was delicious.
Salmon tartare. sieved egg, capers, chives, radish, dill creme fraiche. Tasty, but not as light and refreshing as the Branzino above.
WOOD OVEN ROASTED PRAWNS warm farro salad, salsa verde. A nice (and fairly light) dish.
Special: corn and peppers and cheese. Really yummy with a solid kick.
BAY SCALLOPS butternut squash, brussels sprouts, lemon butter, breadcrumbs.
Shrimp with polenta. Very tasty.
“Bucatini Carbonara, Nueske’s bacon, pea tendrils, pecorino romano, farm egg yolk.” This was much lighter than a traditional Carbonara, although it had many of the same flavors. The Bucatini had a really nice chew to it. The whole thing was buttery, and strongly flavored of from the smokey pancetta, but it was not nearly as eggy and cheesy as the “real deal.” Rich enough though.
ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH TORTELLINI. Parmesan brodo, mascarpone, thyme. Very rich and tasty, but there were only five tiny tortellini! The broth was super buttery.
“Mixed mushroom pizza. Fontina, Parmigiano Reggiano, thyme.” The Milo and Olive dough is pretty much perfect in my book: chewy, tasty, and not overly carbonized.
“Burrata pizza. La Quercia prosciutto, tomato, arugula, olive oil, sea salt.” This is basically a burrata, prosciutto, arugula salad on a pizza. The tomato sauce also served to balance out the creamy cheese and add a bit of acidity. I make a similar pizza myself, minus the ham (sigh).
Here is a clear view. Pizzas here are very generous in size, and even though this is a fairly light one, I was very full afterward.
A summer special: Brentwood corn & summer squash pizza. Cream corn, goat cheese, basil, garlic, and oil.
A fall special: butternut squash, cioppino onions, tallegio cheese and aged balsamic.
Special pizza with fresh figs, Niman Ranch bacon, and gorgonzola cream. This is a riff on a particular style of pizza I really like: the salty/sweet/cheesy type. I make versions myself on Ultimate Pizza Night. This one had a soft sweetness to it, dominated by the fresh figs (I usually use dried ones myself). But it was quite nice. The bacon had a serious smoky richness. It was more pancetta or lardons, certainly not crispy bacon.
BIANCA Taleggio DOP, 25 yr aged balsamic, farm egg. Prosciutto added.
One of my favorite Milo & Olive pizzas. The balsamic added a nice bit of sweetness to the cheese. The egg richness, and the ham salty goodness.
This 2014 addition to the menu, the gorgonzola dulce, speck, kale pizza, was amazing too.
PORK BELLY SAUSAGE. Escarole, tomato sauce, mozzerella. Egg added. Sort of like a high end version of your classic sausage pizza.
A special pizza with cauliflower.
I was eagerly watching the dough guys to see how they shape their pies. My wife and I make our own Ultimate Pizza at home and the dough handling is one of the areas that we need to improve on.
Coffee pot aux creme. Basically a coffee flavored custard, with a bit of carmel and a healthy dollop of creme fraiche. Delicious, but I’m always a sucker for these custard-type desserts.
They have some decadent looking baked goods too, but we were too full.
Overall these were really good new wave pizzas. The dough was perfect and I want to experiment with some of the other toppings to see if one of them is truly awesome. They don’t have a real meatser meatser on the menu which is a shame. The Mozza version of that is spectacular.
See detailed info on our homemade Ultimate Pizza.
More new wave pizza: Mozza, 2Amys, Sotto, Starbelly, Pretorio.
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