Saturday, May 21, 2011


Before my wicked long drive out of Boston back to New York, I was weighing my options of where to hit lunch. Santarpio's has been on my list for a while but their schedule didn't fit mine, so I decided to settle for Picco in the Bay Village neighborhood.

Did I say "settle?" Man is that an understatement. I'll tell you right now: I love this place. In fact if the apocalypse were coming and I lived in Boston, this is where I would take shelter to live out the end of days. But I'm getting ahead of myself here, let me show you what Picco is all about.

Rick Katz founded Picco as an homage to two of his favorite foods and started a Pizza and Ice Cream COmpany. See what he did there? Picco (not to be confused with Pizzeria Picco in Larkspur, California) cooks all their pies in a gas-assisted Woodstone oven "well-done" as they say.

While they only feature eight set pies with an additional daily special, Picco has a well-rounded menu with plenty of room for topping additions and substitutions. The friendly gentlemen sitting across from me on his lunch break raved on how the grilled cheese here was the best he'd ever had. Even more impressive, almost everything they make is completely homemade from scratch, from the sausage to the ice cream (thankfully they don't make sausage ice cream).

Of course I ordered the Margherita, but my curiosity ordered mushroom and sausage on half (made in-house? Gotta try it). Picco also offers a killer beer selection from across the country, so I sipped my 21st Amendment IPA (*shhh* it was a company-paid lunch) just feet from the oven as I watched my pie go in and out of the oven. The result?

Yowza! To be quite honest, my first impression was not that this was the most beautiful pizza I'd ever seen, but I clearly didn't know what I was getting myself into here. After carefully inspecting and snapping away pictures in my typical fashion I finally took a bite, and goddamn was it good.

The crust has a dense, crispy shell that misleadingly gives way to one of the most savory, fluffy hole structures I'd seen in quite some time. There is a distinct sourdough taste yielded from the pizzeria's two-day cold rise treatment they give their dough, and it shows, too:

Damn! Look at that fluff! Chewy and crispy at the same time? Don't mind if I do! You can clearly see what Picco means when they say that the pies are cooked 'well-done'

Here's where I have to say it. The crust of this pizza reminded me of another that I'd had recently: the acclaimed Great Lake in Chicago. A ballsy claim, I know, but one that I mean wholeheartedly with praise for both establishments. THIS STUFF IS GREAT. After killing a slice of the Margherita (which actually lacks any basil), I moved onto the more complex sausage and mushroom half-

To be quite honest I like my sausage in large chunks as opposed to sliced, cubed, crumbled, or any other B.S., but this didn't seem to fall into any of these categories. The texture wasn't amazing, but the flavor was. You can see some fennel mixed up in there if you look closely. This pizza was officially awesome. After scarfing every last slice and killing my brew, my friendly co-diner urged me to get some ice cream "for the full experience" at Picco. Twist my arm already!

I ordered a scoop of the caramel swirl which was nothing short of an aneurism of flavor, and I mean that in the best way possible. I paid my bill, thanked the pizzaiolo for an incredible pie, and drove home five hours with a smile across my face the entire time.

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