Monday, October 11, 2010

Napolese- Revisit

I told you last week that hubby had not been to Napolese and was anxious to form his own opinion of it.  I had told him about several of the pizza combos that sounded good to me and he was intrigued as well.  After some negotiations, we agreed to split an appetizer and a pizza (with some wine of course).
We got there on the early side to assure it would not be a hassle to get in.  It was a weekday, and around 6:00 there was no wait at all.  In fact there were only a few tables when we got there.  Although, we both commented on the noise level again, because even with a few tables, it was quite noisy.  By the time we left, and the restaurant was nearly full, the noise level was pretty high.  Interestingly, hubby was not a huge fan of the interior of the space, he said he felt it was “over decorated.”  I think maybe it was a little feminine for his taste.  Other than the noise level, the interior doesn’t really bother me. 
I don’t think I mentioned it in my first review, but at Napolese they bring out a lovely bowl of olives to snack on while you wait for everything else.  If you read my blog, you know I love olives, and these were especially good because they are room temperature, so you get the full flavors of them.  There are several varieties of both black and green, and they are all pitted which was also nice for ease of eating.
For our starter, we ordered the wild mushroom ragout with baked pancetta and added the egg (for another dollar).  This dish came out in its own baking dish.  It was extremely hot—but it looked as if the egg was put on after the dish was heated, as it was a little on the raw side.  It would have been nice if the dish was popped back in the oven for a minute to cook the egg a bit.  We solved the problem by just mixing it all together, as the dish was so hot, the rest of the ingredients did a decent job of cooking the egg.  Once it was all mixed together, the dish was delicious.  There was a lot of the pancetta mushroom mixture and it was extremely earthy and rich.  With the egg flavor mixed it, hubby said it reminded him of a breakfast casserole his Mom used to make.   My only gripe about this dish (again) was the bread.  It was a bit thicker sliced than last time, but it is kind of flimsy for such a hearty dip.  Basically, it appears to be pizza dough cut into strips and seasoned with herbs and cheese.   But this dip is totally worth ordering, and a very generous portion.  We had more than enough, although we managed to finish every last bite of it.
We got the BLT pizza, which, according to the menu is bacon, caramelized leeks and Taleggio cheese.  The pizza overall was quite good and we enjoyed it.  If I am being picky (and I always am), I would say there was no “caramelization” on the leeks.  There were lots of leeks, but they were in no way cooked before they went on the pizza.  They were still a little crisp (which is fine, but is not caramelized).  I like the flavor of fresh leeks, but I love melty ones even more.  The Taleggio was really great on a pizza—it is a cheese with a bit of funk (which is generally how I prefer my cheese) and I really like what it adds to a pizza.  The bacon was perfectly cooked and dispersed over the pizza.  The crust has got that mix of chewy and crispy, but not the blackening that you get from a wood fired oven (I believe Napolese’s oven is gas fired).  So depending on how you like your crust, this could be a good thing or not.  I personally like the crispy blackened edges, as long as it isn’t totally burnt.  The pizzas are big enough to share, in my opinion, although, basically they are the size of a large dinner plate.
Interestingly, we did pay attention to the bill because I have heard people complain that Napolese is more expensive than Pizzology, the other local Neapolitan pizza place.  We found our bills to be nearly identical.  The bill at Napolese was about $6-8 less, but we did not have a salad (which was $8 at Pizzology).  (And for those of you who have been asking, it was about $55 at Napolese for a pizza, an appetizer, and a bottle of wine).
All in all, hubby agreed with me that Napolese has some interesting sounding combos for their pizzas, and we both enjoyed the food and wine we had.  The downside, as I have said in the past, and hubby agreed, was the noise.
114 East 49th Street
Indy  46205

Napolese on Urbanspoon


  1. Lots of people in the neighborhood complained about their pizzas being burnt. Napolese therefore started not charring the pizzas. We stopped going because we were unaware they were doing this on purpose. Now we just ask for 'extra char' and the pizzas are delicious. IMHO, Pizzology's mortadella pizza is the best in town.

  2. We had the same pizza last week, at our first visit to Napolese. I would agree on the lack of caramelization (sp? word?) of leeks. My only other complaint was that the bacon pieces were huge chunks. Which just means a very salty bite when you get the bacon. We also had the pepperoni pie, and I felt the same way about the 1/4" slices.

    Maybe that's typical of Napolese pizzas (?)-- but for me the flavor ratios get a bit thrown off.

    Overall, outside of noise (which we did notice) I enjoyed it more than I expected. Thought prices were ok, especially considering sizes.

    It doesn't hurt that it's walking distance to our house, either ; )

  3. Friends: thanks for the info. Next time I will ask for some char..

    Katy: agreed that some of the meat chunks are kinda big.

  4. I took my Mom there (I had been there before) just last week... and once again thought it was wonderful. It's a two block walk from my house.

    I can't imagine why people would think it is too expensive... an appetizer and a pizza (more than we could even eat between the two of us) was about $25. Ordering a large pizza at hotbox costs nearly that amount, and it's not even in the same league as far as quality.

  5. It's expensive depending on how you order. The "freestyle" option (build your own) screws you. If I order what I want, I pay $20 for essentially a BLT with mushrooms substituted for the bacon. The BLT costs $13, but they don't allow substitutions so I have to use the freestyle option ($9+$5+$4+$2).

    However, the combo options are not so hot if you are vegetarian. Four margheritas are your options. (1 reg, 1 w/buffalo mozzerella, 1 with egg, 1 with quail egg.)

    2 people, 1 app, 1 salad, 2 pizzas, 3 SK cans = $82 before gratuity.

    This meal costs me ~$60 at Pizzology.

    The app, salad and service were great at Napolese. The noise is so bad it's nearly a deal breaker. The fact that Neal makes better pizza for less, is.

    I can walk to Napolese, yet I drive to Carmel to Pizzology anyway. And I really dislike driving to Carmel.

  6. Thanks for the tip on reheating pizza. Tried it with my leftover Napolese pizza. Made the crust nice and crisp. I actually liked it better reheated than how it was served at the restaurant!

  7. After reading the reviews, we went to Napolese last night for dinner. Split the special salad (apple, pear, arugula, and toasted almonds with an apple vinagrette), the mushroom ragout, and a margherita pizza. The salad and ragout were delicious, but I found the pizza to be just okay, and the crust was a little soggy in the center. It was definitely more "charred" than the one in your photo though, which to me is a good thing. Had to use fork and knife to eat it because of the soggy issue, until you got to the outer crust at least. We would definitely go back, because the salad and appetizer were very good, but the pizza to me was nothing special.