Fiamma on Buffalo Road has been one of my favorites since my first visit there in October 2012. So it didn't take any arm-twisting to get me to accept an invitation for my wife and me to join two friends there for dinner on New Year's Eve.
After being seated, we shared some appetizers, a Caprese salad with fresh buffalo mozzarella, and a plate of mussels in a spicy tomato sauce. They were very good, but I did not want to overdo it on the antipasti, or the complimentary bread, because I was saving room for the pizza.
Fiamma is not just a pizzeria; it's a full-service restaurant, and they offer several pasta, meat and fish dishes. I don't doubt that those are very good, but I simply can't bring myself not to order pizza when I'm there.
I was leaning toward the Montanara pizza, which is topped with sliced potatoes, among other things, but instead - maybe it was the festive holiday mood - I decided to try the stella, which is unique among Fiamma's pizzas. The crust is formed into an eight-pronged star, and each prong is wrapped around a nugget of smoked buffalo mozzarella. The whole pie is topped with mozzarella, olives, sausage, arugula and cherry tomatoes.
The pizza was so pretty, I hated to cut into it. But after taking the leftovers home, I realized that the individual slices made for very nice Christmas-tree-shaped pizza.
The toppings provided contrasting flavors, which varied from one bite to the next: a bit of saltiness from the olives, some sweetness from the tomatoes, and the underlying bitterness of the arugula. But there was no sauce, so what I mostly got was the smoky-charred-bready-chewy crust. And it's that slow-risen, fast-baked crust that I love most about Fiamma's pizza.
My stella gave me more than enough to keep me busy, so I didn't sample my companions' pies. But my wife got a Napoletana, topped with tomato sauce, garlic, oregano, basil, pecorino Romano, and extra virgin olive oil. One friend got a Carminuccio, with double tomato sauce, spicy pancetta, basil, Parmigiano & a blend of Gran Cru cheese. Her husband ordered a Capricciosa, with tomato sauce, parma cotto ham, mushrooms, olives, mozzarella, basil, and olive oil. Each pie displayed the leopard-spotted underside that is Fiamma's signature, and everybody was happy with their pizza.
I'm not a huge dessert guy, but I do love tiramisu, so I couldn't resist that. It was moist, light and appropriately sweet.
At this point, my notes become rather sparse, probably reflecting the effects of a full stomach and carb overload. But my wife and one friend each got the same dessert, which I believe was the semifreddo, chocolate mousse topped with gelato. The fourth member of our party ordered a frozen, fruity dessert. For the life of me I can't think of what it was called but it was stuffed into a tiny, split squash or pumpkin.
Owner Giuseppe Pacciulo was quite busy (they were short-handed that night, due to an employee's illness), but I did manage to chat with him before we left around 10:00. He informed me that a second Fiamma's location, in Rochester, remains in the works, but the date remains TBA. I will pass on any information I get, as soon as I get it.
Someday, I will order something other than pizza off Fiamma's "primi" and "secondi" menu. The baccala al forno sounds especially intriguing. But next time I go, I'm getting that Montanara pizza. I'll do another post, when I've done so.
Fiamma, 1308 Buffalo Road
Mon-Sat - 11:45am-2:00pm
Mon - Thurs 4:30pm-9pm
Fri - Sat 4:30pm-10pm