Puro Italiano

Neopolitan pizza, by way of Nashville, in East Hollywood

Just when you thought the Neapolitan pizza craze had reached its zenith, a stranger rolls into town.

[Cue Spaghetti Western Music]

His name is Massimiliano Di Lascio. He's the the blue-neckerchief-wearing pizzaiolo at DeSano Pizza Bakery, a Nashville-imported outfit now firing pizza inside a cavernous East Hollywood warehouse (with lots of parking).

Pizza from Nashville? We were skeptical, too.

Once we tried the char-speckled Margherita D.O.P. ($13), simply dressed with melted buffalo mozzarella, crushed tomatoes, basil and a bit of garlic, we became instant converts. DeSano pizzas are baked for just under a minute in one of four gigantic wood-fired dome ovens–each named after an Italian saint. Puffy calzones Napoletano ($14), stuffed with slices of sopressata, prosciutto and pepperoni and served with a side of marinara, are equally fantastic. This is Everyman pizza of the kind you would find outside of a train station in Naples–unapologetically simple and massively satisfying.

Neapolitan Calzone

The authenticity isn't surprising: Di Lascio's pantry been lifted from across the Atlantic. There are tin cans of San Marzano tomatoes and Sicilian peppadew peppers, buffalo mozzarella from Campania, bags of double zero flour and Mediterranean sea salt.

Take a seat at one of the long wooden benches in the dining hall, where Liga Italiana games play on the TV. Or, you could sit next to the open kitchen, where dough gets slapped onto long paddles and shoved into the glowing ovens. The only way you could be closer to the action is if you were making the pizza yourself.