If you are going to open a restaurant that specializes in Neapolitan pizza you might as well take the time to do it right, and that’s exactly what the owners of the newest pizza place in town did. Before opening their establishment at Douglas and Hydraulic they went to Naples to learn the pizza dough craft from some folks who know what they’re doing.
Piatto is an intimate place with only a handful of tables, although a recently opened patio will help when the weather is reasonable. The cozy interior helps draw the focus to their impressive Italian made wood-fired oven that is constantly being fed pizzas and fuel. A seat at the bar or nearby will also afford you the opportunity of watching each order being prepared.
The menu is presented on stamped wooden planks and features personal sized pizzas that are broken into two categories. The “rossa” side features simple pies made with tomato sauce, cheeses, and unique cured meats, while the “bianca” side has more unique olive oil based offerings that include such toppings as pistachios, sliced lemon, and more specialty cured meats. There are also a few salads, appetizers, and a dessert pizza that involves nutella. Besides a nice list of wines, there are several local beers on tap, including from their next door neighbor Hopping Gnome.
Steph and I went by on a weeknight, before a show at Century II, and were able to snag a table without any wait. After perusing the menu we decided to order a Diavola, which came with red sauce, spicy salami, mozzarella, and garlic, and a Fresca that had pancetta, sliced lemons, mozzarella, and oil.
Piatto’s crust is unlike any other in town, it undergoes a three day fermentation process, and the results are simply magical. It is a sumptuous piece of bread with just the right amount of chewiness and char. The Diavola was a perfectly simple pizza that featured a delectable traditional sauce of crushed tomatoes and salt. A reasonable amount mozzarella and spicy salami helped make this an excellent pie that left me wanting more. The Fresca was a bit more adventurous as neither of us had ever eaten a pizza with lemons. I was a bit surprised when the pizza came out with rinds still on the thin lemon slices, but the high heat of the oven mellowed out the acidity and complimented the salty prosciutto nicely. As with the Diavola this pizza was well-balanced with the toppings and crust working in unison to make our mouths happy.
Focusing on doing one thing really well is a trait I admire in restaurants. If you can nail one dish, people will keep coming back time and time again to get their fix. Piatto takes the time and energy to create excellent traditional pizzas and after one visit there’s a good chance you will be hooked.