First Look: DeSano Pizza BakeryBy Lesley Balla | February 11, 2014 By Lesley Balla | February 11, 2014
The cavernous space in East Hollywood is actually a pretty random spot for the new DeSano Pizza Bakery. But there aren't a lot of locations in LA that can fit four imported fiery red wood-burning ovens, piles of wood, mounds of flour and hundreds of cans of San Marzano tomatoes and Peppadew peppers. Not to mention a giant lot for free parking, which itself is a draw. In a city bubbling with pizza options, DeSano, which originated in Nashville, hopes to stand out from the pack with Neapolitan-style pizzas, which are authentic to the core: right down to their Italian pizzaiolo, Massimiliano Di Lascio. With his partner Marino Monferrato, Cecconi's former general manager, the two opened the restaurant yesterday and although only a couple ovens were fired up, here's a quick look and taste of the goods.
The Food: There are about twelve pies on the menu, including the traditional Margherita. Other toppings include spicy chilies or tangy Peppadew peppers, mushrooms, salami or even lasagna fixings (ricotta, meatballs, parmesan and garlic). The flour, tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella and even the salt are all sourced from Italy and whether that's the secret or not, the pies are darn good. Is there pizza like this in LA already? According to Monferrato (and an Italian chef from Terroni, who was there while we were eating), not really. A few come close, but Monferrato and Di Lascio are really touting the ingredients, ovens and preparation necessary for true Italian authenticity. In addition to the pies, there are a couple of salads and gelati and canoli for dessert. No beer and wine yet (they hope to add that down the line) but plenty of sodas and water in the cooler.
The Space: There's a large counter where you order and pay and a huge warehouse-like dining room filled with communal picnic tables for dining. The kitchen is part of the show, where pizza cooks man the fires and pies in all four ovens. A couple of TVs are lit up with soccer games, while Italian arias play overhead.
The Prices: Pizzas are $10-$15 for the small pies and $15-$22 for the larger sizes. Salads are $6.50 and $7. Desserts are both under $5.
The Details: Open daily from 11:30 AM-11 PM. 4959 Santa Monica Blvd.; 323-913-7000. Free parking (enter on Alexandria Avenue).