Monday, February 22, 2010
Nino's Revisited: thin crust
A while back, I did a post on Nino’s Pizzeria and Focacceria on Culver Road, which has been turning out artisanal pizza since long before anybody had ever heard of such a thing. I enjoyed my thick crust, Sicilian-style pizza, but after a reader recommended Nino’s thin crust pizza, and seeing all the choices on their menu, I decided I had to go back for more.
This time I ordered a thin pie, with split toppings. Half was a "regular" pepperoni pie, and on the other half I ordered "gourmet" sauce, Locatelli cheese, fresh sliced garlic, and Nino's homemade Italian sausage.
This was thin indeed; I could almost see through the crust in some spots. The crust was crunchy, and chewy, with a very crunchy edge, but neither greasy nor dried out. I noticed that the interior of the crust had a bit of color to it - it wasn't bright white, like some pizzas that seem to be made with bleached white flour. To call it brown would be overstating it, but there was a slight tint that may have suggested a slow-rising dough (a long rise will result in more of the starches in the dough being converted to sugar, which caramelizes in the oven). Whatever the source of that color, the crust had a good flavor.
I ordered the pepperoni half mostly to please my six-year-old daughter's palate, but one advantage of splitting the toppings that way was that it allowed a side-by-side comparison. The pepperoni side was fine, straightforward, and except for the thinness, pretty much in line with what I'd had last time.
The "gourmet" half was terrific, though. I'm not sure what goes into the gourmet sauce, but it was very flavorful, with abundant tomatoey, not sugary, sweetness. The Locatelli cheese (which is applied last, over the other toppings) also added a further dimension of flavor beyond straight mozzarella, with a sharp yet not overpowering taste.
Another thumbs-up for the garlic and sausage. Both had a mild, almost sweet flavor that was noticeable but not dominant.
This was, in fact, a very well balanced, what I would call integrated, pizza. No one component stood head and shoulders above the rest, but all blended beautifully together into a unitary whole.
One thing I also liked about this thin crust pizza is that, although I love thin, New York style pizza, this wasn't that; wasn't even an attempt at New York style pizza. This was Nino's pizza. And whatever style you want to call it, it was very, very good. I'm giving it an A.
On my next visit to Nino's - and there will be a next visit - I plan to try the focaccia. Focaccia's not something I ever got into much - it just never really showed up on my gustatory radar screen - but on this last visit, I had a chance to chat a bit with the owner, and when I asked him to name his favorite item on the menu, he unhesitatingly replied that it's the focaccia. So that's coming. In the meantime, I'll be posting a recap of our conversation tomorrow.
Nino’s Pizzeria and Focacceria, 1330 Culver Rd. 482-2264
Sun. - Thu. 4 p.m. - 10 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 4 p.m. - midnight