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Friday, 22 March 2013

Red Dawn - Pizzeria Rosso

Reinvention does not guarantee success; people grow accustomed to their usual haunts and, hence, such leaps are inherently risky. Da Capo Lifestyle Caffe boldy announced an impending reinvention several months ago and the city watched in subtle anticipation as brown paper covered the cafe's windows and a typed note on the door hinted of an incipient wood-fired pizza oven. Beneath this brown paper cocoon, Pizzeria Rosso emerged like a nascent butterfly, wings slowly unfurling to catch the city's culinary breeze.

Pizzeria Rosso is Da Capo both reinvented and significantly evolved. Warm-hued wooden tables and a wall display of split kindling are decorative nods to the kitchen's chief fuel source. Understated lighting and an open kitchen complete this space. Those who frequented Da Capo will recall the large, U-shaped counter that dominates the middle of the dining room. Unfortunately, this counter still exists, and does little except to bisect the room in a manner most awkward. It also blocks the view of the open kitchen - if only the latter were permitted to star more centrally in this show. Rosso's double-sided menu features antipasti, insalati, panini, and pizza. The descriptions are tantalizing.

Trittico di Bruschetta features three crusty sections of baguette. One is adorned with house-made ricotta. Another sports a tumble of cherry tomatoes and sprigs of fragrant basil. The third proudly bears a crown of marinated red peppers. The ricotta's gentle milkiness is contradicted by a lumpy texture, but the tomatoes and red peppers bask in tangy-sweet glory.

Funghi Misti, a "white" pizza that has no need for tomato sauce, features a toothsome assortment of mushrooms that rest on a tender bed of fior di latte and tallegio cheese. A whisper of truffle oil and a few sprigs of parsley impart additional notes of earth and greens. Apart from uneven distribution of mushrooms across this orb, this constitutes a finely-crafted pizza.

Da Capo took a risk by retooling both its name and concept. The menu is strong, but the dining atmosphere would be strengthened by putting greater emphasis on the pizza oven and far less on the front counter. Judging by the impact of the pizza alone, though, Pizzeria Rosso portends a new dawn for pizza in this city.

Pizzeria Rosso on Urbanspoon


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