A Tale of Two Ovens

The varied firepower of Milo & Olive

Picture a typical lunch in Santa Monica.

Women in yoga wear and high fashion sit at the same table; kids play with cereal while mothers eat dishes packed with ingredients the restaurant bought on Wednesday at the market on 4th and Arizona; accents range from surfer bro to pan-European.

It's a scene you might find at Huckleberry, and to judge solely by the wealth of pastries artfully strewn about the display case, you might think it was that bakery. This, after all, is Milo & Olive, the newest restaurant from Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan, owners of the ever-popular Rustic Canyon, Sweet Rose Creamery and Huckleberry.

The spacious open kitchen houses both an impressive wood-fired pizza oven and a rotating deck oven, two appliances that dictate the direction of the cooking. Nathan is expanding her bread and pastry offerings at Huckleberry, and Milo & Olive's Italianate menu is built around a number of crisp, well-charred pizzas.

We're sticklers about crust, and Nathan's version passes muster. High-rising, charred at their outer edges and exceedingly thin in the middle, these pizzas maintain texture and crunch even under the heaviest toppings. The version topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella, pork-belly sausage and braised escarole (pictured; $17) is bound to become Milo & Olive's signature pie.

Milo & Olive, 2723 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica; 310-453-6776 or miloandolive.com