505 Promenade du Centropolis
Bus: STL 42, 60, 61, 66, 70
Visit: October 29, 2013
Growing up, we all had those grandparents who cooked for us and had their secret recipes. To this day, my own grandparents still cook weekly and gather their family around the dinner table. There are some places that turn that family tradition into a advertising concept. One of those places is Enoteca Mozza in Laval.
With the year underway, it was time to establish a regular series of restaurant visits with the one and only, Steakman. Since things came up at the last minute, our scheduled stop had to pushed back to a later date. So, we had to think on our feet to come up with a restaurant that was within a reasonable distance. For some reason or another, I was the bright one to come up with the idea of going to Mozza in Laval.
For the last few years, I’ve been hearing all kinds of ads from Mozza on the radio. These ads all rely on the theme of a grandmother’s recipes from the old country. When she hears that they’re making money off of them, she all communications. It’s an interesting hook and one worthy to check out. A few months back, I was having a conversation with a colleague, when they mentioned the desserts at the restaurant. So, all those combining factors pushed it to the top of my list of curiosities.
We entered the Laval location at the early stages of the supper rush. At this point, we were thinking that we might have to think of another place to go to, but there were tables being served at this time. So, there was absolutely no issue getting a table. We were seated in this large hybrid booth area. From our vantage point, we could see the front entrance and the bar area, so it wasn’t such a bad place to sit.
We knew right away that we were going to order pizza. After all, the restaurant touts itself as a pizzeria moderna. Steakman, who likes his pizza, had reservations about the product, as it was not consistent according to his past experiences here. For me, I was more interested in the appetizers, which I’ve been taking everything opportunity at for the last year.
Since it wasn’t that busy, we would think that the service wouldn’t be suffering. There were times where we were kept waiting for quite a while. There were times where we had to compel the food runner to either get our server or get us the dessert menu. When we asked another server for something, they responded by telling us to tell our actual server. They weren’t largely confrontational interactions, but they didn’t sit well with us. Though not the main factor, it’s probably the reason why we didn’t stay for dessert.
On another note, you may be judging me for mentioning the following, but it’s another thing that can’t be avoided. Throughout the time we spent there, we noticed that there were particular assets being displayed and it had nothing to do with food. The best way I can explain this without being too vulgar is to reference that episode of Seinfeld where Elaine tries to apply for a job at the diner. I’m hoping they’re not doing it on purpose to try to attract customers and there is a kids’ menu there. I’ve visited many restaurants in the last 4 years and never did I feel compelled to point it out to who I was sitting with.
With all that being said, I think it’s more important to actually see how the food would turn out to be. Our approach for this visit was to take a few appetizers and go on to try the wood over fired pizza.
Mamma’s Meatballs ($9)
These are slow cooked meatballs with basil. Also included is a sauce.
To start with, the size of the meatballs was quite generous. The sauce that came with them complimented the dish quite well. What really made me happy here was the fact that despite the size, the whole thing was cooked quite nicely.
These are Italian rice balls stuffed with prosciutto and mozzarella. This also includes an Italian dipping sauce.
Over the last few months, arancini has been one of the appetizer dishes that I look the most forward to. The risotto appetizer prompted Steakman to mention his recent visit to Gordon Ramsay’s New York restaurant. There, after the restaurant met his request for a little less lemon, he was completely satisfied with the risotto experience. Suffice it to say, we like anything risotto based after watching his show.
The arancini here wasn’t half bad. I really liked the crispiness of the crust, as it wasn’t too hard or too soft. The only thing that I would suggest is that you take advantage of the dipping sauce. Without it, you might be disappointed by the arancini. At this point, the appetizers got thing underway with a decent start. But with Steakman’s warning, the pizza might change the complexion of the game.
Before we get to the actual pizza we ordered and how it turned out, I want to mention the one positive thing that came from the interaction with our server. When we went to order the pizza, since we ordered the same one, we were told that ordering the family size would save us money. I don’t think we were, at this point, dumb enough to turn down that offer. Either way, it worked out that we had the same amount of slices with each pizza.
This pizza normally contains mozzarella, caramelized onions, and pancetta. We asked that the onions be removed to leave us with a more simple pancetta pizza.
The first thing you notice when you pick up a slice of this pizza is just how thin it is. One of Steakman’s comments from a past visit is that the bottom gets burnt really easily. A burnt slice isn’t such a great thing unless you like the taste of smoke and coals. Here, I made it a point to take a look at the bottom and I noticed that it wasn’t as burnt, but there were a few spots. That wasn’t a deal breaker
With the lack of onions on this pizza after our request, which there was no issues getting, the distribution of the pancetta looked a tad bit spotty. There were gaps of pizza where you would only get a bite of dough and sauce. I think a good bite requires all your components at once, much like a burger.
Probably the one thing that didn’t sit well with me the most was the consistency of the dough when taking a bite. Each time I took a bite, it felt like the dough seemed more like flour than anything else. I’m used to getting greasy hands when eating a pizza. In this case, I had to wipe off the flour regularly.
To end things, I want to finish with something positive. With the pancetta on the pizza, I felt like that elevated the product beyond some of the issues we had. The taste and quality of the meat couldn’t be denied.
Enoteca Mozza runs a pretty good advertising campaign with a worthy social media presence, but that’s not all there is to life. Our visit was full of ups and downs, with some aspects that I would like to forget. The appetizers were the stars of the show, as the pizza was somewhat disappointing.