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Pennsylvania Fusion Pizza

Quick reviews: Mio and Pizza Fusion

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Quick reviews: Mio and Pizza Fusion

Whigsboy | Apr 21, 2008 08:48 AM

Ate at these places back to back nights this past weekend.

Went to Pizza Fusion on Friday night with wife and kids. This is a new, eco-friendly place (mostly organic ingredients, beer, etc., hybrid delivery vehicles, actual restaurant insulated with old blue jeans, etc.). It's on Rt. 8 in Gibsonia, not far from the Turnpike exit for Butler Valley and in the same plaza as one of the relatively new Atria's outposts.

In short, it was good. We got a large pizza - they're oval shaped - half plain for the kids, half with sausage and roasted red peppers. Thin, slightly crisp crust, good chew, sauce, cheese, toppings all with good flavor. Got some bread sticks for the kids because they were starving. Olive tapenade was too garlicky. Service was slow but servers were nice. This place just opened last Thursday, so I actually expected worse.

It's not cheap, particularly if you get a side, drinks for the kids and a beer for the adults. Our bill was over $40, which most people might say is expensive for dinner at a pizza joint. In any case, as somebody who considers himself a pizza snob and is very fond of traditional Neapolitan style pizzas, I can say that the pizza was good and that we will be going back to Pizza Fusion.

The next night, we left the kids with a sitter and met some friends for dinner at Mio Kitchen & Wine Bar in Aspinwall. It was tremendous.

I won't delve into too many adjectives, but I did taste a number of people's appetizers and entrees, and everything was top-notch. The braised pork belly on gorgonzola polenta appetizer was, in my opinion, the best thing that made it to our table. My braised short ribs were a close second, followed by the cheese plate, which is traditionally offered as a desert option, but we shared it as an appetizer for the whole table: fontina, aged gouda, a stilton and a bleu. All were fantastic. The salmon tartare appetizer was very good, as was the scallops entree. The only thing I didn't taste was the halibut entree, but my friend who ordered that, whose taste I trust, really enjoyed it (this was a chef's choice entree, that is, he asked the chef to pick his app and entree; the app was the pork belly).

For those not familiar with Mio, the chef/owner is Matthew Porco, and he worked as the chef de cuisine at the pretty famous Veritas in Manhattan for at least 2 years, I believe. Mio is modeled after Veritas. Extensive wine selection. Very few by the glass, and very few under $100.

IMO, if you're going to Mio, you pretty much need to expect that you're going to drop a lot of cash. But what you get, both quality and portions, are worth it. Whether in this current economy there are enough others who agree is another question altogether.

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