353 E 17th St.
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
Please Note: The following is a guest review written by Jeff L.
I attended a media event so take my reviews as such. I was coming from PCH and drove past the restaurant but the parking behind it is very intuitive. This is the first restaurant of theirs in OC and the 6th location overall having been in LA for years. Costa Mesa makes sense for a restaurant like this with its simple, laid back atmosphere yet subtle attention to details. For example, the column you see when ordering was made out of mahogany from a boat deck, the bulbs on the wall to your left as you walk in spell Pitfire in braille, and the seats are made from VW beetle car seats. The place is very approachable and I liked the open counter seating encouraging you to sit next to the kitchen in a community type arrangement. The counter made me think of a diner meets European café setting.
The drink menu was limited but focused to make anyone happy. They have all your major wines but all hand picked trying to get from California if they could. I had one of the signature cocktails called Crystal Cove which was quite refreshing and the rosemary stick made for an interesting touch – you could smell the fresh rosemary though drinking it could be challenging because the rosemary kept wanting to go in my nose – I somehow managed though. I had a sample of the beer which was very refreshing yet bold in flavor. They have from 5-10 beers on tap. In addition to regular sangria they also offered a pear apple version. The boomboom red wine was excellent and highly recommended by management. It reminded me of a daily drinkable Italian table wine that just was what it was. For pricing of $7 to $12 a glass it was perfect with the pizza.
The chicken meatballs were uneventful but the sauce brought them to life. On to pizza, I tried several and all were excellent. The crust was thin akin to a southern Italy but not crispy on the bottom. The topping to crust ratio was just right. The edge of the pizza crust was quite crispy though giving it a good combination. I am not a pumpkin person usually but pumpkin squash pizza was quite lovely, very subtle yet flavorful with the brown butter and fontina cheese rounding it out nicely. The Burrata pie was excellent with the arugula a nice touch. One pizza had me intrigued because it was pear but had a spicy kick, turns out they put a few red chili flakes on it. On to my favorite, the sausage party was divine and seeing all that meat on it had me anticipating a more saltier version but the balsamic drizzle kept it at bay and really brought out the flavor. The final pizza was the Tuscan off-menu with thinly sliced potatoes of all things but it worked.
Sausage Party Pizza
Tuscan Pizza with Potatoes