Editor’s note: Restaurant critic Merrill Shindler believes there are many wonderful options for takeout food — cuisines that “travel well,” as he says. We asked him to highlight six of his favorites. … Previously, he wrote about barbecue, Chinese food, fried chicken, Mediterranean food. Now, for the quintessential takeout food — pizza!
Locale 90 Neapolitan, 1718 S. Catalina Ave., Redondo Beach, (310)540- 9190locale90.com
At Locale 90 Neapolitan, the pizzas are an exercise in understatement — or at least, as close to understatement as a slab of dough with sundry toppings gets.
The menu informs that, “We encourage you to choose no more than three toppings. Neapolitan pizzas are meant to be lightly topped to highlight the flavor and quality ingredients. … Your pizza’s crust will be charred in spots. That’s correct and how it should be. It adds flavor. … In Italy, they eat pizza with a fork and knife. We won’t judge you if you don’t, but we thought you might want to know.”
At Locale 90 they serve a very fine pizza, as fine as any pizza in the South Bay, a fair competitor for the much ballyhooed pie offered at Nancy Silverton’s Pizzeria Mozza, considered by feinschmeckers to be the sine qua non of pizza in Southern California. (And yes, I did just mix German and Latin, in the same sentence!)
They cook the pizzas in an imported oven, looking a bit like a bee hive from Hades, and pull them out before rushing them still sizzling into the boxes. There’s a choice of 10 red sauce pizzas, six white pizzas (without tomato sauce) among the pre-sets — about the most complex of which is the capricciosa, topped with cotto salami, mushrooms, roasted artichoke and Gaeta olives.
The salami pizza, with Calabrese peppers, comes drizzled with honey — a wonderful touch. There’s truffle oil on the kale & egg white pizza, and mascarpone on the thyme roasted mushroom pizza — so good, so…elegant. (You can also create your own, drawn from 18 ingredients, none of which are pineapple.)