Clusi Batusi is the adorable name of my new favorite Los Angeles pizzeria. It doesn’t hurt that the chef and owner, Michele Gargani, is also one of the biggest Italian Wine Geeks I know. We met in the AIS Italian Specialist Course, and we’ve been nerding-out over esoteric Italian wine together ever since. His concept is fast pizza, made with fresh, quality ingredients, for a very low price. What’s not to love about that?
The Pizza Bianca is a local favorite- Michele’s super fluffy, crispy-skinned crust is topped generously with mushrooms, Fontina cheese and crunchy arugula. Then he showers it with Parmigiano cheese.
We also sampled a Pizza Siciliana, loaded with anchiovies, capers, olives and roasted peppers.
Michele Gargani is proof that it takes a highly skilled chef to perfect something as simple as a pizza. He offers a few daily non-pizza specials that will astound and amaze you. Fried Oyster Po’ Boys? Lasagna al Forno? Hambugers? All spectacularly simple, perfectly executed and mouth-watering. We tasted a steak he broiled in the pizza oven on one occasion- seared to perfection and accompanied by some of the most perfect potatoes I’ve ever tasted.
Michele Gargani is sure to succeed with this concept because it’s honest, it’s not pretentious, and the food is delicious. Not to mention the name. “Clusi Batusi.” The funny way it rolls off your tongue makes you happy to say it. Once to you taste the food, you’ll never forget it, either.
Bolgheri wine prodigy Fabio Motta, Chef Michele Gargani, and Wine-Slinger Extraordinaire Michael Newsome at Clusi Batusi. Looks like trouble to me!