So, I’ve decided that for the purposes of Nommable, I have to stop just writing gushing mentions of places I eat and start actually talking about them in detail. Last night, my mother and I decided to take a little trip for dinner. It was just too hot to eat in the barn, so we got in the car, pulled up some reviews on my mother’s trusty iPad, and ended up heading for a wood-fired pizza place about 30 minutes from the barn: Stanziato’s Wood Fired Pizza. This was a last-minute selection because we started out by trying to visit a pub that was highly-recommended by locals, until we got there and discovered that Friday night is karaoke night. And as much as I love karaoke, I don’t really equate karaoke with a nice dinner out. At least not when they happen in the same venue.
When we got to the pizzeria, we were met with this sign:
So, okay, you know, I love this sign. But I also have to take it as a challenge, because this is kind of a big claim.
A bit of a digression:
What you might not know, unless you’ve had the misfortune of seeing one of my internet arguments about it is that I’m kind of a pizza snob. I grew up eating my mother’s pizza, which is like something out of a pizza fairy tale. I have been making pizzas since I was about six. For a brief period when I was seven, my mother had a catering business making pizzas for private parties. The first food review I ever wrote was of a new pizzeria down the block from the house where I grew up. I was impressed at eight years old because it was the first local pizzeria that actually offered a pizza bianca, and I grew up with an Italian mother for whom sauce was an option on pizza and not a forgone conclusion, and I’d never been to a restaurant that fell in line with that way of thinking before.
My standards for pizza perfection are Trattoria Dante in Florence, although I haven’t been there now since 2003, so I can’t speak to whether it’s as good as it used to be. But I have the fondest memories of a pizza they used to do with arugula, mascarpone and speck (no longer on the menu, though there’s a different arugula and speck one with scamorza) that I used to gorge myself on whenever I was in Florence. And I can summon the taste of it back any time I want, and it is glorious.
Back to last night. I saw this sign, and I was like, oh, pizza, oh, you and your wonderful audacity.
Then I walked in, and unfortunately, a lot of my photos came out kind of grainy because I was taking them on my mother’s phone. I was honestly not intending to write about this place until I got there and saw that sign outside. Seriously! So I didn’t have a camera with me. And then the sign happened, and I was all, GAME ON. but I walked in, and the first thing I see apart from the oven is totally two big blackboard menus, labeled:
RED and WHITE.
Separate menus. So this is a plus. Then I started reading the separate menus, and discovered a few things:
1) flour imported from Italy
2) pizzas made with mostly-local ingredients including bacon from a smokehouse down the road.
Awesome? I think so.
Anyway, we ordered a couple of beers and look at the menu, which has a whole bunch of other stuff on it besides pizza. We ended up with a Pork Slap Pale Ale, which I’ve had before and quite liked, especially for a beer in a can – It’s a good malty beer- and City Steam Naughty Nurse Pale Ale, which was not bad but not particularly memorable, either. They had two beers on tap, UFO Hefeweizen, which I’m not a fan of– I find all the UFO beers to be a bit too light and watery for my taste– and Shipyard IPA, which I like a lot, so we split a pint of that once we finished our bottle and can. They had a pretty decent bottle selection, too.
We ordered a beet salad that had feta, edamame, sunflower seeds, and shaved marinated fennel. It was a pretty darn awesome salad and very large for the small-sized portion. We really liked the fennel on it best of all; it was shaved very thin and was tender, not crunchy.
We got two pizzas to split. One was the “Piggy Piggy,” which was a pizza with local bacon, caramelized onions, and cherry tomatoes. The other was the “Summer Lovin’,” which had a nice olive pesto on it, red onions, and then all the other toppings were put on after it came out of the oven– goat cheese, oregano, and cherry tomatoes. The oregano was really fresh, good, spicy oregano and I loved it.
So…best pizza in the universe? Here’s my take:
The toppings were all really amazing, really fresh, and yummy. They clearly timed when they put which toppings on, rather than throwing everything on at once, which is a nice detail and one I appreciate, because it means the ingredients are being used in their best state. Especially with the tomatoes, because I prefer raw tomatoes to cooked on pretty much every occasion. The crust didn’t do it for me, though. I was impressed with their whole attention-to-flour thing, but the flour didn’t work for the kind of crust they were doing, which was a much more American-style crust with a poufy edge, although the middle was relatively thin. It did have just the right amount of char on the bottom, and the wood stove made it really nice and smokey, but the texture was off for the style of crust they were doing; it was too stiff and chewy and didn’t have quite enough flavor. I do suspect though that the crust would be better with a red sauce on it, and my mom and I have already made plans to go back and try the meatball pie.
So, no, Dante is still my number 1, probably followed closely by Otto in New York. But this was some pretty good pizza and our salad was excellent and I will probably be going back there soon!
Mirrored from Nommable!.