Monday, December 14, 2009

Pizzology

I have been reading all the chatter about Pizzology both before and after it opened, particularly on twitter, and have been intrigued to try it naturally. Pizzology is the new project of Chef Neal Brown formerly of L’explorateur (which was one of my favorite restaurants in Indy when it was open). This is a totally different concept (pizza), in a totally different land (Carmel) and although pizza isn’t something that gets me terribly excited, I figured if some place could pull it off, it would be here.

So these pizzas are cooked in an 800 degree wood burning oven –there are pizzas with red sauce (rossa) and pizzas without sauce (bianca). They are all the same size (about 13 inches). There are several set pizza combinations or you can make your own from a list of ingredients. Certainly more cost effective to go with one of the house combos though. There are also several salads as well, and about 6 kinds of pastas and a risotto of the day. (Can I just say again how much I love that the pastas are offered in half order and full orders? Because if I was faced with a full order, I would be overwhelmed, but the half orders are a really nice size).

It was a cold night, but we wanted a salad, so we started with the warm spinach salad. It was fresh spinach with basil, capers, fairly large dices of pancetta and a poached egg on top. The dressing was a warm pancetta and red wine vinaigrette. I really enjoyed it—I thought the flavors were great, and I loved the addition of the poached egg to add even more richness. (Ok, maybe a poached egg on just about anything makes me happy—I love a good egg) But the capers and the dressing (which was tossed with the salad, hallelujah) balanced it with the right amount of acidity. Most of the capers and pancetta sunk to the bottom of the salad though, so you had to make sure to spoon them all out to make sure you got all the flavors. I really enjoyed the salad, although hubby wasn’t as excited about it. He liked it, but he didn’t love it. I saw several of the chop salads come out as well—they looked nice and also come in a half order size, which is nice if you don’t want to split with someone.

So originally we were going to get two pizzas, one red and one white, but once we saw how large they were, we changed our minds and just added a half order of one of the pastas. So we went with the mushroom pizza, which was red sauce, wood roasted wild mushrooms, olives and cacciacavallo, which is a type of cheese, made in a style similar to mozzarella (sorry about the pic, it was my phone). The cheese was fairly mild in taste, but was good with the pizza. The only disappointment was the mushroom topping. They tasted good, but the mushrooms were pretty sparse (there was one piece that just had one 'shroom on it. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like an over-topped pizza, but I sort of envisioned a mixture of several types of mushrooms and a few more of them—I am not sure that there was anything other than diced portabellas on there, but I could be wrong. The olives were very good, and were cut into at least half, which I liked because you didn’t get too much in one bite, and they were strong cured olives, not the flavorless canned black olives you see on most pizzas.

The best thing about this pizza though, clearly, was the crust. The menu touts that it is made with wild yeast, spring water and Caputo Pizzeria “00” flour. I am not exactly sure how all that translates into good dough, but man, it does. The crust is thin, but not so thin that you don’t get a bit of the flavor with every bite. It is crispy on the edges, and still nice and chewy on the inside. Seriously, I can see why so many people were ordering breadsticks (I am assuming they are made with the same dough). I think my favorite part of the meal was taking the crust from the edges of the pizza and dipping it into the leftover sauce from the pasta we got. I could eat that for days.

Speaking of the pasta, we had the penne with artichoke, prosciutto, and olives. Hubby thought this was amazing. (“This pasta freakin’ rocks!”). I thought it was good—the artichokes were roasted (they are clearly making good use of that wood burning oven) and they make most of the cured meats in house I believe. The prosciutto was nice—and more of those olives—yum. I think some of the pasta is freshly made, but not the penne I don’t think. The sauce on it was not a heavy sauce, nice garlic-y olive oil type sauce that turned a bit creamy with the cheese on top. Like I said, dipping my crusts in the sauce at the bottom of the bowl was my favorite part of the meal.

I will certainly go back, and apparently a lot of people feel the same way. At just after 6 on a Wednesday night with the snow and cold weather, nearly every table was taken. We didn’t have to wait, but got one of the last tables. And they were turning tables the whole time we were there.

They have a great Italian wine list as well, with slightly more unusual wines—and the pours by the glass are generous the first go round, which is unusual in most places (you know how they always give you smaller pour on the first glass to make sure you order the second one, and then they give you a decent glass?). But not here. Both glasses were generous and there is a nice selection by the glass.

Next time I really want to try the white pizza with the clams…for sure. Or maybe one of my own combos with an egg on top—that was one of my favorite things in Italy. Or maybe those fritters….

Pizzology
13190 Hazel Dell Parkway
Carmel, IN 46032
317-844-2554
www.pizzologyindy.com

9 comments:

  1. Heading there this Friday. Can't wait to try it!

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  2. Try the mussels the next time you go. They're served with a couple of breadsticks to soak up the broth (which is so good and flavored with salami).

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  3. We went to Pizzology last week! It's hands down the best pizza in town. As a girl who doesn't like to go north of 10th street, you know it's good if I want to drive up to 131st and Hazel Dell again!

    We had the zucchini (sp) fritters, mushroom pizza and Kentucky Rome pizza. Erin, unlike your experience, our mushroom pizza was loaded with a trio of mushrooms, all of which seemed to be sauteed in a bit of olive oil and garlic for a really fantastic flavor. The Kentucky Rome, with proscuitto (sp) and figs was to die for.

    The pizza reminded me of the stuff I've had in florence and naples - and really, for an entire pizza, appetizer and 2 glasses of great wine, my $30 tab was a steal.

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  4. You should also try the pasta bolognese next time. Completely fresh with a deep rich sauce. We really enjoyed all the pizza (we had a big group so we ordered 4 different kinds) and still thought the pasta was one of the best dishes we had. My only issue is that the location is not near many other places so if it is very busy that night, you are stuck without a lot of alternatives.

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  5. You can order your pizza to go. Order ahead or hang out at the bar and savor the wine while you wait, and enjoy the pizza at home. I'm lucky to live within an easy driving distance, and it's well worth it! I'll definitely try pasta and mussels soon.

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  6. Went again a few days ago, and tried the mussels. Best things ever! Perfectly cooked, crazy huge serving, in a rich and slightly spicy broth. Ask for extra breadsticks (which come with great sidecars of marinara and cheese sauce) to use for dipping in the mussel broth. So good, I could just make a meal of the mussels! And the pepperoni pizza with chilis was fantastic, nicely flavored pepperoni with a good kick.

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  7. We ate here last Friday, glad to see the authentic Neopolitan pizza craze has finally made its way down to Indy. These places have been hugely popular in Chicago for the past 5 years, I'm surprised it took so long for someone to take a stab at it here.

    Food was very good, excellent ingredients and very well prepared. Good wines by the glass. Price was right. My only complaint is - why open a place like this in Carmel? On a Friday night, half the seats were filled with children. Family friendly is nice and all, but there's very limited seating here and IMO this kind of food is wasted on the palate of a 6yr old. And that charming toddler taking up a seat and banging his fork on the table isn't quite old enough to drink wine, so there go your alcohol profits.

    If you're an adult who doesn't go for the Chuckie Cheese atmosphere, I'd suggest eating at the bar instead of the dining area.

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  8. Went there last night for carryout. Got the Pepperoni and the "Lombardy" and the Lg Chop Salad.
    salad=Awesome! Great olives, good cheese, wonderful citrus vinagrette and it was tossed!
    Pepperoni=Pretty good, center was a lil soggy but my fault for carry out.
    The Lombardy=Uber Awesome!!! all the ingredients didnt even make you miss a sauce.
    The place was slammed too!!!
    Definitley the best pizza in Indy (uhh..Carmel)

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  9. Just as you say in the review, the crust is phenomenal crunchy, chewy delicious. I ordered two glasses of red wine - very reasonably priced, and perfectly balanced. My only complaint was also with the mushrooms. The Neopolitan pizza place that I loved in Minneapolis put porcini mushrooms on their pizzas - even the best roasted crimini or portabella doesn't compare. Porcini are pricey, but so worth it.

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Thanks, Erin