Friday, July 24, 2015
Fiamma is one such place. I had lunch there recently with two friends.
I got a "San Daniele," topped with mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, baby arugula, prosciutto, shaved Parmigiano Reggiano, and balsamic cream.
I tend to lean toward minimalism where pizza is concerned, but I'm not a purist. I understand that in the Italian tradition, pizza is a base, the same way that pasta or rice is a base, for other toppings.
That said, I'm still not a fan of overloaded American pizza. Just dumping a bunch of toppings onto a crust does not make for good pizza, in my opinion, although I know there are those (including my daughter, whose default pizza is the "meat lover's") who will disagree with me.
But this pie, despite all its toppings, was not an exercise in gluttony. There's a reason that Fiamma's pies, like those in Italy, come with a knife and fork and a pizza cutter. You treat it as a main dish. And this was a well-balanced dish, with classic Italian flavors over Fiamma's excellent crust.
One reason I like going to pizzerias with my friends, besides the pleasure of their company, is that I get to try three pizzas. One friend got a diavola, topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella, spicy soppressata, basil, and spicy olive oil, and the other got a capricciosa, with tomato sauce, parma cotto, mixed mushrooms, mixed olives, mozzarella, basil, and extra virgin olive oil.
As much as I liked my San Daniele, I think I would've traded it for theirs. I love good olives, and I love spicy food, so both pies were right up my alley (although I will never love mushrooms, so I'd probably ask to have those left off if I ordered a capricciosa).
It may be needless to say, but all the pizzas had an excellent crust - blackened but not burnt, crisp but chewy. Thin in the middle, thick along the edge, this crust could stand on its own, with no toppings at all.
I had a moment to chat with Giuseppe, the proprietor. Work continues on Fiamma's new location in the city, at the corner of Atlantic Ave. and Russell St. It sounded as if they had hit a few minor snags, physically, which is typical, I think, so look for them to open later this summer or this fall.
In the meantime, get to Fiamma at its original location in Gates. It's world-class pizza.
Fiamma, 1308 Buffalo Road
Mon-Sat - 11:45am-2:00pm
Mon - Thurs 4:30pm-9pm
Fri - Sat 4:30pm-10pm