Pizza Dream by Chef Fred Eric | PI L.A., Los Angeles, CA

By Sophie Gayot

Downtown Los Angeles, CA, May 2022

• GAYOT’s Rating13/20
• CuisinePizza
• Open: Wed.-Sun. 5:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m.
• PI L.A. is on GAYOT’s:
– LA Best Pizza Restaurants
– and 10 Best Pizza Restaurants in the U.S.A.

I had a dream that a chef would make a pizza that is different — not easy as there are already so many styles. (But after all, there are only seven notes of music, and we constantly get new songs.) That dream came true when chef Fred Eric brought his creations to my table at PI L.A. (watch the video below).

It took two years of R&D for chef Eric to come up with his own very personal signature dough. One day, he was introduced to what is called “Detroit Style Pizza,” but he wanted a lighter dough, easy to digest (remember, in LA, people want to stay fit). In order to achieve that, he uses sprouted flour (less gluten), kombu water to enhance flavor and promote bubbling, and cures it for 72 hours. The results are two unique crusts: one with seasoned cracked pepper, sesame/poppy/coriander seeds, and dried garlic and onions for the cold pizzas; and one with a crispy cheese edge for the warm ones.

After the crust, come the toppings… As chef Eric was born in Los Angeles, he has been infused by the facets of the diverse cultures that make up the City of Angels. And this is what you’ll find covering the crusts: from classic Italian sausage to kimchi-tomato sauce, smoked salmon, Oaxacan and cotija cheese, caramelized onions, baba ghanoush or smoked fried chicken. They are an homage to L.A.’s melting pot and culinary influences from around the world. Since the pies are a derivation of Detroit Style Pizza, they are named after cars (for example: Impala Low Rider or GTX Muscle Car). Finish with a scoop or two of the gelato and sorbetto.

The name of the restaurant is a play on words on the mathematical number PI and pizza pie. Don’t worry, there is nothing mathematical about an experience at PI L.A. To the contrary, chef Eric has put lots of warmth and vibrancy into it — well, easy for him, as this is how he is, always smiling and full of energy. He partnered with artist Shepard Fairey to create the logo, the paintings on the wall, and the silver booths. The tag line: “Fork Off!!! Use your hands“? That is chef Eric answering chef Joachim Splichal asking for silverware when he dined at PI L.A.

> Sophie‘s Tip: There are salads and soups, but the pizzas are truly the reason to venture in the Harlem Place alley from 4th Street.

> Watch my exclusive video with chef Fred Eric describing some of the pizzas being served at PI L.A.

PI L.A.GAYOT’s Rating13/20
124 W. Fourth St.
Los AngelesCA 90013
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