Masa of Echo Park: Much More Than a Bakery & Café

By Rick BarzellDecember 10, 2009Food & Drink

I know what you’re thinking, this must be another Echo Park Mexican food spot.  Well don’t let the name fool you because you won’t get your burrito fix here!  Instead, expect a menu full of paninis, melts, Italian dishes, crepes, and their specialty…Chicago Deep Dish Pizza.  Yes, that’s right, Chicago Deep Dish Pizza right in the heart of Echo Park.  The plus side is that you get all of this while being in a warm, homey, eclectic setting.

First thing you might notice is that all of the chairs in this place are mixed and matched.  You will find straw deck chairs alongside your wooden dining chairs all at the same table.  There are flowerpots everywhere holding a variety of floral arrangements and the floor is made of large tiles.  The décor seems like a mix of southern hospitality, an Italian café, and a kitchen.  The walls are adorned with art while funky jazz plays in the background.  Maybe it was just me, but focusing on all of this began to make me extremely hungry.  So on to the food…

They begin by bringing out a Cuban roll and butter, which turns out to be the best bread I have ever tasted.  It is fresh out of the oven and extremely soft in the middle, letting the butter easily melt into the bread’s porous texture.  When the waitress returned, I immediately had to ask about the bread.  Turns out the bread is baked right here, as this place was once strictly a bakery before turning into the restaurant it is today.  The idea of the restaurant baking its own bread immediately gave me more of a reason to be hungry and to look forward to trying the food.

Considering that Masa’s specialty is their Chicago Deep Dish Pizza, I decided to order a small one, which is big enough for two people.  One thing to note if you plan on coming here to order one of their Chicago Deep Dishes, is that they take about 40-45 minutes to bake.  This is the reason why we decided to order another dish in the meantime. 

Righty away I decided to order the Masa Gnocchi, gnocchi being my favorite Italian dish.  For those of you that don’t know what gnocchi are, they’re small and very soft potato dumplings served in true pasta fashion with cream sauce.  To sum it up, it’s basically an extreme climactic orgasm in your mouth!  In this case, the gnocchi was covered with garlic, mushrooms, peas, and cream sauce.  Definitely one of the best variations I’ve ever had!  After realizing that there was still a pizza missing from the table, I immediately refrained from eating more of the gnocchis.  It was too late however; the pizza that arrived was way bigger than we had first anticipated.

Masa’s Chicago Deep Dish Pizzas all come with their signature cornmeal crust and have cheese baked under the crust.  Personally, i’m huge fan of Italian sausage on pizzas, and Masa’s “sweet Italian sausage” definitely stands out above all others.  Considering we were extremely stuffed from the Masa Gnocchi dish, we were only able to eat one piece each, which allowed us to take the rest home.  From the website I noticed that you can actually request a heart-shaped pizza; definitely something to keep in mind if you plan on taking your woman (or fella’, depending on your preference) here.

As for the deserts, we obviously had no extra room for anything at all.  Such a shame, considering I have the largest sweet tooth on the planet.  However, I do hear that their Warm Croissant Bread Pudding is amazing!  Another one probably worth tasting is their Chocolate Silk Crème Brulee.  I can’t wait to return again just to scarf down as many deserts as I can, to make up for this past time of course.  

I think the service was very good overall.  They helped us out with any questions and even warned us about the sizes of their dishes.  This is definitely a place I would recommend to anyone who’s in the area, and especially to those who feel like bringing a date.  Masa is also located on the corner next to the Echo!  It would probably be a good idea to plan a whole night of it, and hop on over there to catch a show afterwards.







Masa of Echo Park
1800 W. Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(213) 989-1558

Monday thru Thursday 11am to 11pm
Friday 11am to Midnight
Saturday 8am to Midnight
Sunday 8am to 11pm