RE-UPDATE: 4 Stars.
Went back a couple weeks after a great start out of the gate to see how they're doing. Looks like Enrico hired a new pizza maker. He still needs to hone his skill. The pies were just not as good as when Enrico makes them. We all know we eat with our eyes first. They were off shaped, not enough char, and toppings were skimpy. It just looked weaker. I don't know if it was just this night but consistency is the most important thing considering that their small menu is made up of only one thing: pizza. Don't get me wrong, this is still a very good pizza. They just need to make sure every pie that goes out is up to spec.
Wow me again like you did on our first 3 dates... And you might get lucky if you play your dough right on our 5th date.
UPDATE: 4.5 Stars.
Made another visit couple days later... One Word: Holy Crap.
It just gets better and better. Take a gander at a few other glorious specimens...
Pizza del Re- King's Pizza. San Marzano, bufala, ham, shrooms, artichokes, black olives, basil, olive oil. How good was it? It was gone within 4 minzies. Seriously good.
Margherita- Another homerun. Great ingredients, a great oven and an experienced pizzaiolo with passion produces results like this. The best Margherita in Atlanta.
Pizza Sorpresa- Chef's surprise pie. And it sure was... Look at this thing, it was the size of a sheet pan! I must admit, this is not the normal size. He wanted to try something different. It surprised the hell outta me, alright. It consisted of everything they had in the house. The spicy salami they use is one of my favorite ingredients. I could put that on every pie here. It was unreal.
This pizzeria has made it to the top of my list within a week. This is how you do it Atlanta. Go there now and mangia mangia! Now, let's shoot for the top spot in the nation... And knock Mississippi off as the #1 obeast state in the nation. Waddle, don't walk... Unless you have a turbo charged Rascal. Vroom vroom.
PS- You're gonna get a lot of varying opinions out there in blogger world comparing this to Antico (which I think has gone down in quality) but on the other hand they're not exactly experts either on the requirements for this type of pizza and the experience that this pizzaiolo brings. And comparing this to Varasno's is just plain bizarre, you might as well compare it to Fellini's. This is the standard where all pies should be measured by in Atlanta. In NYC (compared only to other Napoletana pizzerias) this would be in the top 10... It is just that good.
PPS- The Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana has strict rules governing a true Napoletana pie with the D.O.C. marking, Denominazione di Origine Controllata... Pies should not be larger than 14" in diameter (12"-14" is average and there's a reason to it, anything larger and it's hello soggy center), people who complain about it being too small knows basically nothing about what they're eating. Most people think the Margherita should be covered in basil, that is wrong, the few leaves of basil was added to the center of the pie right after it came out of the oven just for color (representing the Italian flag) as a tribute to Queen Margherita's visit to Naples.
Another Napoletana 'ZA joint has opened up to push Atlanta's pizza scene up another notch. But this place is not just some nobody vying to get some respect in a pretty competitive arena already. The pizzaiolo here is no other than Enrico Liberato of Fritti, Antico and Vingenzo fame. This guy means business when it comes to pizza. And the best part of it, it's located in Buckhead. Yes, intown, you OTP pussies. OK, enough talk, more cowbells and of course... Da 'ZA.
Every time I look at this, it looks like it's giving me the finger. No wonder I'm strangely drawn to it. Takes one to know one. Now fuck off. I'm starving.
The hardest working man in dough business... Enrico "The Liberator" Liberato. Atlantans no longer have to endure bad chain pizza anymore... He will liberate your shitty tastebuds for $5 conveyor belt pies and show you what the big dogs demand.
Awww, shit... Lookie what we got here. D to the O to the muttafukkin P. The basis of a true Napoletana pie. Enrico has worked for this tomato producer in Italy when he was younger while studying the art to the perfect pie.
A sneak peek at the heart of the entire operation. Is that glorious or what? This giant wood fired oven was handmade brick by brick by Enrico himself. The surface area can easily accommodate 10-12 pies comfortably at one time, even though he said he could fit 70 in there. Well... Like the 00 Caputo dough, that's a stretch me thinks. But it's a beautiful sight no matter how you translate his Eyetalian.
It's like the gates to heaven... Well, pizza heaven. PS- All bricks were locally sourced. Enrico says it's not the bricks that should be from Naples, it should be the man making the 'ZA. Touché, touché. When I die, I want to be cremated in here... So, I can give back a little bit of all the pies I ate here. Those pies will be amazing, the flavor will be... Full bodied.
Fuoco di Napoli- Fire of Napoli, the namesake pie. San Marzano, bufala mozzarella, spicy salami, hot peppers, basil and olive oil. Dude, look at the char blisters. You can not get any better than that. The sheen on the ingredients speak for itself and it says quality and flavor. It's a beautiful pie from a beautiful mind. It tastes even better... Like French kissing the man himself. That's what I heard... From a friend.
Stare and discuss amongst yourselves... I'm eating here.
Calzone Napoletano- San Marzano, bufala mozzarella, ricotta cheese, ham, salami, basil. This thing is giant. Like the other Napoletana spots around town, it's basically a whole pie folded in half. This dough pouch is stuff generously with all that quality ingredients and the wood fired oven does the rest. While it was good, it needed to be rotated and lifted to the top of the dome a little bit more inside the oven to give it that wood fire kissed coat and fusing the flavors of the ingredients inside. The steam inside did lift the dough but then quickly deflated right when it got to the table. This lil hiccup will not stop me nor will this be my last calzone here.
Cannoli- Made in house and just the right size. Cannoli are meant to be eaten within 2 to 3 bites. Anything larger than this is just... Americanized. I'm not a cannolo connoisseur but I inhaled it in 2 bites. Goddammit, why am I so fat?
I tried another pie called the "Sorpresa", the chef's selection pie which was ricotta, bufala, spicy salumi and San Marzano sauce... The char was perfect, giving it that crispiness to the bottom and infusing the smokiness of the wood. This was better than the Fuoco pie but only by a tad. Damn, it was good.
The menu is small as it should be for a quality Napoletana pizzeria. For being opened only for 2 days, it has bested some of the more popular pizza places that has been around for a long time... Some of these places maybe a day too long for their own good. But with a little time this place can become #1 in my book. And by the rate they're going, it's not gonna take long. On a side note, Enrico said he's only making small batches of dough on a daily basis (about 100 pies per day and a 48 hours resting/proofing period). That's quality control. There's also hints of another location in midtown and a 3rd in Kennesaw but you didn't hear that from me.
Pump pump.... Eeh, you know the rest.
30 Pharr Road
Atlanta, GA 30305