Had dinner at Croma last night, and ate out on the patio as the swelter slowly cooled. My husband and I split the arugula and parmesan salad, with its sweet lemony olive oil dressing (any idea what makes it so sweet?). Good salad, although there were some yellowing leaves, and at 4.95, more than enough for two to split.
I had the asparagi pizza, with goat cheese, oven-dried tomatoes, got cheese, thin asparagus spears, cracked pepper, and presumably creme fraiche. I couldn't taste the creme fraiche, but otherwise, the pizza was great, with non-stingy amounts of goat cheese, nicely cooked asparagus (more steamed than roasted, but not mushy or raw). Our pizzas came out piping hot, and the crust was thin, chewy in the middle, and crunchy on the outside.
My husband had the inglese pizza, which is pancetta, sausages, a tomato sauce that had both chili and tamarind in it (a la kicked-up HP Sauce), mozzarella, and a fried egg on top. The crust was likewise excellent, although a little more weighed down by the heavier crust. This was a fun, fun pizza, and the flavors went together great. I remember thinking this would be the perfect thing for breakfast. Pizzas are $10-14.
I had a generous pour (6) of McWilliams Shiraz, my husband had a pint-plus bottle of Weiehenstaffen Weisse Bier he really liked, and we fought over the last crumbs of the sticky toffee pudding that we unwisely ordered only one of to share. My tawny port (10) was a good sized serving, and my husband seemed to enjoy his very foamy capuccino. We walked in right at 6:30 when there were still tables on the patio, but by 730 it was packed. All their wines are by the glass and bottle, and I saw several easy-drinking favorites there, including my house malbec by Ique.
Ingredients were all good quality, our server, Carrie, was harried but sweet and attentive, our food came out immediately (we could see down into the kitchen where we were sitting) and the people watching was a lot of fun. Service there seemed generally a little flaky, as if they were down a waiter or two, but there was a manager in evidence expediting tables, and when we were walking in and getting deer in headlights looks from the waiters about whether we had to go inside before sitting on the patio, he came out to meet us at the door to tell us to sit wherever we'd like. A vacant and grouchy looking hostess appeared not long after. I could see how the service would deteriorate, but we were very happy with our experience, and it was a nice to find an alternative to Bertucci's when I'm in the mood for pizza. (Although nothing beats a sporkie with chicken.)