Restaurant: Sixth & Mill
Location: 1335 E 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90021. (213) 629-3000
Date: November 11, 2019
Cuisine: Italian Pizza
Rating: Super Tasty Pizza, but far (for me)
This post documents an interesting combo event. My friend Walker, member of the Foodie Club, put together this event at his friend, Chef Angelo Auriana’s new pizza place downtown (located next to his other restaurant, Berea).
Chef Angelo’s pizza is his very own version of the pizza Napoletana, which was initially exported by the first waves of immigrants in the 1800s and quickly became what most people abroad identify Italian food by.
Beside the pizza, the cuisine of sixth+mill focuses on other traditional recipes that capture the uniqueness and versatility of the regional southern Italian food and include appetizers, fritters, homemade pasta, meat & poultry, seafood and desserts, keeping an eye on traditions and looking at today’s necessity of lightness, healthiness and simplicity.
The dining experience at sixth+mill evokes joyous times of travel and memories through a casual-refined atmosphere that recreates the feel of a night by the Gulf of Naples and it is the platform to celebrate and share the culture and the life style of the Italian people.
Inside is a mix of contemporary and “factory.”
Walker organized this HUGE (too huge) dinner with like 50-60 people to showcase the pizzas and his ancient and unusual Italian wines. The chef is in the blue in the middle of the above picture.
I also brought some wine. From my cellar: 2010 Borgo del Tiglio (Nicola Manferrari) Collio Friulano Ronco della Chiesa. AG 94. Borgo del Tiglio’s 2010 Ronco della Chiesa shows what this hillside site in Cormons can do in cooler vintages. Still bright, focused and intensely saline, the 2010 bursts from the glass with grapefruit, lime, mint and crushed rocks. The 2010 will probably be appreciated most by readers who like tense, vibrant whites. Next to some of the other vintages, the 2010 lacks a little mid-palate pliancy, but it is quite beautiful just the same. I especially like the way the 2010 opens up nicely in the glass over time. (Drink between 2013-2020)
Mozzerella from Southern Italy with peppers.
Margarita with Gorgonzola. Pretty normal Margarita, but for the strong flavor of Gorgonzola — took it up a notch for me. Very salty and strong.
Parmesan with purple cabbage and almonds. A strongly cheesy pizza with a bit of crunch and a hint of bitter from the cabbage.
From my cellar: 2007 Paolo Bea Montefalco Rosso Riserva Pipparello. 94 points. I’m a sucker for Bea and my infatuation may blur my objectivity as a result. However, it would be disingenuous of me if I were not to gush over this bottle. A tree full of ripe cherries, pie spice, asphalt, charcoal, smoke, mushrooms, damp forest floor, teriyaki…it was a feast for the senses. After 11 years of age it’s still fiercely tannic but it’s not enough to bother considering the character. The finish lasts for minutes. I realize that making wine like this is scary and the results aren’t for everyone but my God, I am thankful that the Bea’s have the guts to do it.
Mushrooms with butternut squash and arugula.
Oxtail and smoked mozzarella. Strongly meaty, probably my favorite.
Margherita fior di latte with Apulian EVOO and oregano.
Gnocchi with Alfredo sauce. Cheesy and very very soft. Perfect pillows of potato.
Much of the wine lineup.
The wines are all pictured below. Far too many to write up. This was an oddball event. I’ll break it down.
The pizzas were very good. Not 2+ hours in traffic good — no pizza in LA is — but good. I’d happily have them if there were closer. They are about the same (good) level as Pizzana. There wasn’t enough food for my taste, mostly because of the format (more on that later), but what we got was great.
The wines were very interesting. These are unusual varietals that I, of course, know because of my Italian wine studies, but unusual. Mostly far Northern Italian wines made from Spanna (a Nebbiolo variant). But you NEVER see these wines nearly this old! They varied from a bit rustic or acidic to delicious. This is surprisingly long lived stuff. Pouring was a bit uneven due to the format.
The format problem with this dinner was the size. There were huge numbers, perhaps 50-60 people, and first of all the restaurant can’t produce pizzas THAT fast, so they would periodically drop one on our table, giving us a piece each, then we would wait for a good while as they kept dropping pizzas on the other 10 tables before switching to a new pizza type. Initially there was only the salad and 4 small (slices of) pizza(s). We begged for the 5th pizza and the gnocchi, but it still wasn’t really enough. I think the concept originally was for it to be smaller and for the chef to try the wines and improvise on pizzas, but because of the scale he couldn’t really do that. The wine also suffered in pacing because Walker was opening and pouring EVERYTHING so he was one busy bee — but he still couldn’t get around fast enough at the beginning. These are pretty hard bottles to even open as the aged corks take some time to work through.
But anyway, other than the ludicrous LA traffic getting to the Arts District fairly early, it was a lot of fun.