Friday, July 24, 2009
Little Venice, South Ave.
Little Venice Pizzeria has been a South Wedge mainstay for many years. They used to have a hole-in-the-wall place doing takeout and delivery only. A few years ago they moved into a bigger space across the street, with a few tables, and, I think, a bigger menu.
I got a couple of lunchtime slices. The crust was thin, and just a little browned underneath. There was no charring at all, though there was a bit of oven soot.
The texture was a little crunchy, and they were kind of greasy. My fingertips were left a little oily from holding them. That crunch, then, I'd say was more from the oil - kind of a fried crunch - than from any high oven temperature.
Aside from that crunch, there wasn't a lot going on here texturally. I didn't get the sense that the dough had risen all that much, as there wasn't really any interior breadiness to speak of.
They were fairly cheesy slices. The cheese was on the thick side, was lightly browned, and gave the pizza a certain tangy flavor.
The sauce, on the other hand, seemed almost nonexistent. There was really very little of it, although what there was had a slightly herbal flavor. The wide and thin slices of pepperoni tasted fine, and were applied pretty generously.
Turning to the menu, Little Venice offers a handful of specialty pizzas, including "Doc's Special," which is a white pizza with garlic, mozzarella, oregano, spinach, tomato, artichoke, ricotta and parmesan. They also do calzones, strombolis, wings, hot and cold subs, burgers, and several dinner entrees, including homemade cheese manicotti, chicken, veal, or eggplant parm, and lasagna.
There's not a whole lot of seating, but there are a few tables inside and out. It's an informal place, and the service was friendly. On my visit, just listening to the banter between the two guys working there - one of whom I took to be the proprietor - was pretty entertaining.
As for the pizza, it had no major flaws, but it loses points in a number of areas, particularly the soot, the greasy feel, the pale underside, and the general lack of breadiness of the crust. A longer rise and higher baking temperature would go a long way toward improving this pizza, in my opinion. (And scrape out that oven!)
None of these were major problems on their own, and overall the pizza tasted OK. Personally, I'd like a smidgen less cheese and a tad more sauce, but that's mostly a matter of personal preference, and I won't really fault them for that. But the soot and pale underside are harder to overlook. Bottom line, I'd say this was pretty much average pizza, and taking off some points for that unattractive bottom, I'll give it a C-.
Little Venice Pizzeria, 742 South Ave. 473-6710. Mon. - Thu. 11 a.m. - 11:30 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 11 a.m. - 12:30 a.m., Sun. 1 p.m. - 11:30 p.m. Free delivery.