Thursday, June 12, 2014
On a recent evening when my wife had other plans, I took my daughter to dinner at Prosecco in Farmington. Located on Rt. 332, between the Thruway and Canandaigua, it's a comfortable Italian restaurant, that strikes a nice balance between high-end sophistication and a casual atmosphere.
And what's better for a pizza place than balance? As I've said before, good pizza is all about balance.
Not that Prosecco is just a pizzeria. This was one of those occasions when I wished I didn't feel compelled to eat pizza, as the menu had a lot of other tempting items on it. But that's the price you pay for writing a pizza blog.
No matter. The pizza menu looked good, too, and I was able to share an appetizer with my daughter, and to sneak a bite of her entree.
As I usually do, I went with the Margherita pizza. It's basic, it's a good measure of how good a pizza place is, and when well made, it's sublime.
My12-inch pie, cut into eight slices, was topped with shredded mozzarella, tomato sauce, and shredded basil. There was surprisingly little basil on my pie, just a few shreds in the middle, rather than the whole leaves or more widely-distributed leaves that I'm accustomed to.
Let's start underneath. The crust was very thin, pliable but firm, and the slices cracked a little along the outside edge when I folded them. Underneath, the crust had just the slightest dusting of flour.
The underside was cooked to a medium brownness, neither pale nor charred. It wasn't oily. The only issue I had, underneath, was the scattering of oven soot here and there.
Aside from the relative lack of basil, the toppings were pretty good. The mozzarella was nicely melted, with a smooth texture, and it hadn't separated into solids and liquids, as with lesser-quality cheese.
As for the sauce, it too was well balanced, with sweet, salty, and tomatoey/acidic flavors coming through. Somewhere in the mix I also picked up some herbal flavors of oregano and basil, and some garlic in the background too.
The rest of our meal, and the setting, were both enjoyable. Near the door was a pianist/vocalist performing jazz and pop standards, and there was a bar at the other end of the room, which was lively but not too raucous during our dinner-hour visit. The space was nicely decorated in muted tones, and was comfortable but not downscale. And our server was friendly and attentive, and did his best to work a busy room.
Foodwise, I enjoyed our shared appetizer of mussels arrabbiata, which were prepared in a spicy marinara sauce. The sauce on my daughter's spaghetti didn't have quite the same spicy kick, though the accompanying sausage made up for that, with noticeable hints of red pepper. My daughter pronounced it "spicylicious." (She's got a way to go to become a pepperhead like her dad, but she'll get there.) While I didn't exactly need more carbohydrates, I also appreciated the crusty complimentary bread.
Following my visit, I spoke over the phone with Natale, who's one of the owners of Prosecco. He and his co-owners, who include a cousin and two friends (who are brothers) opened the place about two and a half years ago. Their names alone are a testament to their Italian heritage, as outlined here. Each member of the foursome brought with him some prior experience in the restaurant or pizza business, and decided to give it a go when this property, which had housed an ice cream parlor, became available.
Plans for a wood-fired oven had to be scuttled due to local zoning restrictions, but that doesn't seem to have hurt the food or the business. I enjoyed my dinner, including the pizza. I wouldn't quite put it into the top tier of local pizza - the crust was good, but not quite A-level, for me - but it was certainly better than average for this area. And unlike a lot of pizza I've had locally in a restaurant setting, which all too often has seemed like an afterthought on the menu, this was an item I'd order again.
I will almost certainly have the chance to do so, since my daughter insisted that we must go back to Prosecco sometime. And I'll be happy to oblige. On my next visit, I'd probably try something else off the menu, not because I didn't like the pizza, but because, well, I'd like to try something else off the menu. As for the pizza, I'll give it a B.
Prosecco Italian Restaurant & Jazz Bar
1550 Route 332
Farmington, NY 14425
Friday - Saturday 4-10pm