Eating Out: Life of Pie
OSTERIA People like to say that the best test of a pizza restaurant is the classic margherita: crust, tomatoes, mozzarella—no other topping to cover up any flaws. Osteria’s cipollotto pie proves them wrong. Here’s a crackling thin crust that swaps out the tomato sauce for … scallion ribbons. Sure, it also trades up from standard mozzarella to stracciatella—the cream-drenched curds you might recognize as the innards of a burrata. But still, scallions! Talk about surrendering your margin for error. That this pizza manages to feel lively and luxuriant rather than dry and stingy tells you all you need to know about Marc Vetri’s restaurant. Or almost all you need to know. Because the pizza oven runs in richer directions, too—like housemade mortadella with oily pistachio pesto. Just beware that even a scallion pie here fetches $19. The city’s best pizza doesn’t come cheap. 640 N. Broad St., 215-763-0920.
NOMAD PIZZA COMPANY When Tom Grim and Stalin Bedon closed their Bella Vista pizzeria for 10 days in January to take a staff trip through Italy, one of the journey’s highlights was Pizzeria Da Michele in Naples (which Elizabeth Gilbert wrote a memorable chapter about in Eat Pray Love). Da Michele offers just two choices: cheese or no cheese. “I admire the simplicity and excellence,” Grim wrote in an Inquirer blog series. “The concept is very appealing.” Nomad isn’t that austere, but simplicity is the watchword. Traditional toppings ride lightly amid the Italian tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. Yet the best pie here happens to be the busiest: assertively spicy soppressata drizzled with honey. Get it Roman-style, thin and crispy (but by no means brittle). Like the Nutella pizza you should save room for, it shows Nomad’s defining quality: a knack for veering off the pilgrim’s road without losing sight of it entirely. 611 S. 7th St., 215-238-0900.
PIZZA BRAIN Harebrain would be more like it. The giddy mind behind this Fishtown slice joint (and Guinness-certified “world’s largest collection of pizza-related items”) belongs to artist-cum-entrepreneur Brian Dwyer. At six-foot-six (six-nine if you count the orange box-top afro) Dwyer is almost as lofty as his ideas about America’s favorite food. Take the “Bob Shieldsmoose”—a brisket sandwich turned into pizza, with double the horseradish. Or the “Charlie Mayfer”—a sweet-potato pie flattened to fit an almost-crunchy sourdough crust, only with honeyed goat cheese pinch-hitting in the à la mode slot. There are plain Jane options, too (like, um, the “Jane,” a margherita variant), but the menu mostly reads like a contest to see which are wackier—the pizzas or their names. Verdict: It’s the pizzas, which fulfill both halves of the phrase “insanely delicious.” 2313 Frankford Ave., 215-291-2965.Sign up to get a free subscription to G Philly’s quarterly glossy.