It's likely that this place has been extensively reported on CH. We finally ate there last night and we were really pleased. I do feel that any CH pizza discussion must begin with declaration of former/present allegiances. After 30 years of eating pizzas in new england, and going to all the 'famous and fabled', I am a confirmed Pizzeria Regina(PR), North End ONLY,fan. I lived In Rome in high school and PR pizza tastes like it did in rome. To me. Aside from ingredients and preparation, their excellence has been attributed to their WWII era oven, which has gathered a considerable amount of seasoning in its decades of work.
PR No.End is not open Sunday night so we tried Stone Hearth(SH) in Belmont Center, (next to TCBY.) The biggest single difference between the 2 venues- was the crust. When you take PR leftovers, the cardboard box has significant grease marks. The SH has none.Maybe PR lays down some olive oil before the sauce and toppings? SH defiitely does not. This crust difference makes for a flat bread- appearing crust that tastes clean, like the grilled and greaseless A1 pizza in Harvard Square.You can order whole wheat or white crusts. Both are thin, blistered, and charred at the edges.(we asked for well done.)The SH crust edges are thin and crunchy; PR's are thick and not crunchy. We tried 4 kinds of pizza:
The Bean: garlic oil, white bean, caramelized red onions, fresh mozarella, topped w/ spinach pesto salad. we added roasted peppers and wh wheat crust. Neat textural interplay and robust flavors. This was the only one of ours w/o toma. sauce.
Chicken pesto: We substituted roasted pepper for the chevre.this was the only pizza that looked leaden and lifeless. nothing special flavor wise. bell and evans chicken didn't elevate it for me. the problem w/ chicken on both PR and SH pies - is that the already cooked chicken that's put on the pies- becomes dry/overcooked when the pizza gets cooked.
Margherita w/ anchovies: tomato sauce was too skimpy ; needed more sauce to counter the saltiness of the anchovies. they brought me a requested side of sauce and it surprised me that it was literally only pureed plum tomatoes.Surprisingly, the ‘fresh mozarella’ did not make a flavor impression on me.The basil was missing.PR version is much better.
Homemade Sausage, Caramelized Onion, Roasted Peppers, cheese; our added mushrooms and pesto:
This was the Stunner. We'll happily dirve the 1/2 hour just for this one. The sausage has a real cayenne kick to it; plenty of toppings ;the balance of ingredients is perfect.
One caveat. Maybe it was because it was an hour before closing on a Sunday night, but 3 out of our 4 pizzas had mistakes(ingredients left out, put on wrong pies, not 'well done.')
The small blond waitress, while pleasant,was mentally somewhere else. She would put down the pizza and disappear, so it took awhile to get things fixed.
BTW, SH makes 'seasonal' and local sourcing a big part of their modus operandi. We'll definitely be back for that sausage pizza. hmmmmm, maybe tonight.....!!
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