Guam Diner Bytes: Crust Pizzeria Napoletana
Everything good I've heard about Crust Pizzeria was confirmed tonight in my first bite of a California Style Pizza called the Salsiccia. Why did I choose this pizza instead of one of the Pizzas I'd meant to try that was cooked Naples Style in an 800F degree wood fired Pizza Oven? Why did I go to Crust Pizzeria alone, unescorted, and on a working night? Had I had company we could have ordered more from Crust's impressively eclectic menu. Afterall, I could have eaten the Burrata ($14), which is a tomato compote with arugula and crostino! Or a Kale & Arugula Ceasar salad, or the Crust Caprese salad with hand-pulled mozzarella, with tomatoes, basil, balsamic reduction, sea salt and olio verde! I could have been able to order the Brick Fired Mac and Cheese (that has five cheeses blended with roasted garlic, foccacia crumbs and drizzled with truffle oil! Or a Pappardelle Marsala, with Crust's sausage, mushroom ragu and marsala wine sauce! How about Salmon roasted in a 650F degree oven, or Braised Short Rib? There's all this and more!
So, I have to say I was disappointed by my first visit to Crust - not by Crust Pizzeria, whose staff were more than courteous in greeting and seating me (at the far corner of the bar, the only place left - this restaurant was packed to the brim on this Wednesday night with a table wait of 30-40 minutes). No, I was disappointed by me not coming here better prepared to indulge! So now I know when I come back that I'll bring a gang of folks and we will order six pizzas - the ALBA that has an egg over easy on top of pancetta and mozzarella, adorned with truffle oil (sounds decadent); the Formaggi, the Margherita, The Gamberetto; the Carne, and the Funghi pizza.
The Small Plate I had tonight was just that...a small plate of Bruschetta ($7). This is truth in advertising defined. Of course the three crostini pieces were topped with prosciutto and a sweet chutney, with a balsamic glaze drizzle. This was interesting to eat and I could have had more. As I said, the pizza kind of jumped out at me. It seemed to have the most impressive description (Crust sausage, garlic, roasted red peppers, calabrian oil, ricotta, basil). Then it says this pizza was "inspired by Tony Gemignani, 11-time World Pizza Champion - From Tony's Pizza Napoletana, SF, CA". An $18.00 pizza? Yes, and considering the sophisticated ambiance, the guest's energy, level of excitement and engagement, I'd say this was a reasonable price. Not to forget that extra addition of freshly grated Grana Padano cheese offered and layered over my molten dream pie! There's no question that Brian Artero and his partners dug deep for this gem of restaurant that has redefined pizza dining in a way that bedazzles and befuddles a reviewer who tried dining alone when he should have had an entourage! And yes, I want to thank Chef Dylan Saad for the inviting me...he should have warned me! Crust Pizzeria - I've never left a place wanting so much more!!