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jjerrier 02-09-2007 08:37 PM

Taverna Pizzeria and Risotteria - Dallas
I'm starting to get a little distressed in Dallas. I keep reading all of these reviews fawning over the pizza renaissance going on...lots of "brick" oven places opening up.

We checked out Taverna tonight ( I read a very glowing review in the local paper about the quality of the pizza (and other items) and the "blistered crust from the showpiece wood-burning oven". I suppose it is technically correct that the oven could theoretically could burn wood...however this big old woodstone oven had the fugazi gas flame going! I just don't get why you would go through all the trouble of putting in an oven and then use gas - yes it is harder to manage, but the quality really suffers (Fireside Pies in Plano uses mostly gas now and their pizza is tough, but the place is constantly jam packed). That being said - the pizza was pretty good. A couple of things that bug pizza jerks like myself - no fior di latte or mozzarella di bufala...just plain old shredded cheese and the crust had a healthy dose of semolina in it. It was thin and crispy, but also felt like I was eating sand. But pizza is like sex - even when its bad, its still pretty good :)

The place was packed. The wait staff and the host staff were super nice and didn't give us the evil eye because of our 4yr old and 10 mo old. My wife had risotto which was really good and we had chocolate budino for dessert that was great.

So if anyone does ever come to Dallas - make sure to at least try Taverna, Fireside Pies, Coal Vines, and, of course, Campania.

gandjshow 04-01-2007 02:17 PM

Re: Taverna Pizzeria and Risotteria - Dallas
I totallt agree about the wood oven. If you are not burning wood, you are fooling yourself. And the Buffala comment as well. Where is it? Pizza is just not the same without Buffala! As for Taverna, the meat tray and parm was very impressive, almost as good as Firenze, and the staff is GREAT!

Chris 04-01-2007 08:14 PM

Re: Taverna Pizzeria and Risotteria - Dallas
My wife and I had a pretty good pizza at Coal Vines back in December. That place was so crowded in the evening that we left and came back for lunch the next day.

I had a disappointing pizza at Cipollina here in Austin. They had a wood-burning oven. I don't know exactly who built it, but it had a "Modena" plaque on it. The crust was a very thin "cracker" type crust, which is not my favorite. Plus, the crust was very pale on the bottom, with only a few faint brown spots. They had a big pile of wood coals inside, but no flaming logs. Gotta get that heat up!

The goat cheese, pesto, and prosciutto topping was very good, though.

I made that version yesterday at my first pizza-bake to resounding applause.

james 04-02-2007 04:05 AM

Re: Taverna Pizzeria and Risotteria - Dallas
You have joined that exclusive group of people who make better pizza at home than any restaurant they can drive to. That's pretty good. Congratulations.

There are two commercial oven producers in Modena (believe it or not), and the one you describe isn't the one we sell (of course our oven is better :) ). But your point is exactly right. You can have the best oven in the world, and if you don't use it correctly (and make great dough and use great ingredients), you aren't going to make a great pizza.

Which reminds me of a story. Our pizza oven tool producer was at Pizza Expo in Las Vegas last week. They had an Italian-made deck oven and an Italian pizzaiolo making pizza in their booth, and they were just down the isle from a large U.S.-made dome oven company that was also making pizza. Everyone said that the pizza made in their booth was vastly better than the pizza coming from the gas-fired dome oven, and that people would take one bite of the other pizza, dump it, and come back to the Italian pizzaiolo's booth. It's not only a good story, it supports my point. :rolleyes:


Chris 04-02-2007 03:46 PM

Re: Taverna Pizzeria and Risotteria - Dallas
The only drawback is that I'm going to have to work harder and harder to improve my pizza! I'll be calling for some Caputo 00 in time.

jjerrier 04-03-2007 08:38 AM

Re: Taverna Pizzeria and Risotteria - Dallas
If you find yourself in Dallas again, go to Campania in West Village and ask to meet Maurizio Primo. He is the GM and grew up in Naples. Tell him you want the "pizza that Maurizio and Jay eat every day" is a simple pie with a great thin crust (made with caputo), san marzano tomatoes, buff mozz (imported from italy), parmesan, and EVOO. I recommend it all the time and warn people that the buff makes it a bit "soupy"...but it is just awesome. No wood ovens, but the pizza still turns out pretty good.

Tell him Jay sent you - and if I'm there we'll get some Vacca Rossa parmesan going too!!

I really like Coal Vines as well...good sausage/pepper pizza. Go on Sundays for Brunch...they have good French Toast. And it's usually not crowded because the "in" crowd hasn't rolled out of bed from the night before.


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