Innovation and fusion is not commonly associated with comfort food, but not here at Mr. Pizza Factory. After all, they do serve two of the most popular comfort foods known universally: pizza and pasta. Mr. Pizza prides in the amalgamation of Korean and Italian cuisine with one or more surprises tucked in here and there. But you don't really need to come prepared. In fact, if some of the items on the menu may surprise you too much, this place still serves the basic and plane Jane dishes we're accustomed to.
Mr. Pizza does get busy, with mostly the younger crowd flocking for the really inexpensive pitchers of beer. Breathe though when you see the prices of the pizza. It may be on the pricier side, ranging from $13 for the simple to even a $29 round for a premium gold seafood island. But do not fret, best believe the size will be enough. A regular (smallest size) is more than enough for two, with an extra meal in a box when you leave. But if you want to get your appetizers worth, try their salad bar for only $4.99 (and get your just desserts with it too).
Breadsticks come out with some pickles and peppers on the side, interesting. The breadstick with already a carb-filled pizza is an overkill, really, but it will come handy if you plan to order their pastas. Now the pickles and peppers, well, that just takes it to another fusion-level. Honestly, hamburger pickles and peppers often served alongside tacos are both not banchan and therefore not Korean in concept, but not common Italian sides either.
The linguine pescatore came out fast and still steaming. The pasta was cooked slightly more al dente. But the alfredo sauce was excessive, creamy, and absolutely necessary. It was great for the breadsticks and great for dipping the ends of the pizza that came later. The seafood was generous. Although it was obvious that it was pre-cooked, it did not take in the taste of the sauce well enough. Nevertheless, a few more mixes here and there did the job just fine. The shrimp were a little overdone, the slices of squid were nice, the mussels were on the chewy side, the clams were perfect, and the scallops were few but delicious.
And came fusion pizza. The secret garden was a beautiful sight. It looked promising, indeed. The crust was nice, actually, not soggy at all and held up well against the heavy toppings. It has a potato mousse base, which was light (I was expecting mashed potatoes on crust, but was proven wrong). The vegetables on top were fresh and crisp, including the generous fresh spinach on top. The cajun chicken was lacking in flavor, which is the complete opposite of what you would expect in cajun/creole cooking. The pieces were dry and the seasonings did not even penetrate the meat. Thank you extra alfredo sauce (for dipping), you have served your diners well. Now bite by bite it was becoming an enjoyable meal sans dry chicken, until you come to the surprise. Crust stuffed not with cheese, but with pumpkin puree. It was sweet against the salty bread, and mushy against the crusty outside. Quite unexpected and interesting. This writer did not know what to make of it at first, but you actually get the contrast and concept after a while; and either hate it or love it.
Fusion cuisine can still be comfort food; after all, it knows no bounds. The warm, indulging pasta or the salty and sweet pizza says it all. With or without innovation, the basics of making you feel good after each bite is comfort food without a sliver of doubt. So every now and then, get out of your comfort zone to get comfort food. Pay your respects to Mr. Pizza, he deserves a nod every once in a while.
Mr. Pizza Factory is at 3881 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles CA. T: (213)738-0077. They accept major credit cards. Valet Parking is $2 or street parking also available.