We always struggle on the weekends trying to find somewhere to eat lunch near our house that’s local and that won’t be jammed packed. We had not yet tried the Napolese in the Fashion Mall, so we thought we try it and see how crowded it got. Turns out, it was just as packed as most places, and particularly since there were six of us that day, it took even longer (they don’t have a lot of capacity for larger parties when they are crowded). The nice thing is you can wander the mall while you wait for your table and they’ll call you when it’s ready.
First of all, I love the olive mix they serve at Napolese. I’m an olive fanatic and these are fantastic. A nice mix of pitted olives—green, kalamata, and Nicoise. This is the little freebie they give you when you sit down. We then also got a starter of the polenta with Trader’s Point feta and cherry tomatoes ($10) and the tomato/caper/olive dip ($10). Honestly both were really good and a nice combination of things to have together. The polenta is creamy and rich—a slightly sweet corn flavor with the warm gooey feta and the roasted, soft tomatoes giving it just a bit of acid. The tomato dip is full of salt and acid with the tomatoes, salty capers and olives and olive oil and red wine vinegar. My only complaint about this dish was it was very cold—I can only imagine how the flavors would pop if it were served fat room temperature. The table went back and forth about which we liked better, and like I said, it was nice to have them both together. I felt like the bread that was served alongside both (basically the same—thin version of the pizza crust topped with parmesan) went better with the polenta—it was also served warm with the polenta, which I enjoyed. It’s kind of flabby bread so it’s a bit more difficult to stack the tomato mix on. I also wished I had some toasted baguette or something with the tomato mix to absorb more of the vinaigrette.
My in-laws ordered the BLT, which is one of me and hubby’s standbys, so we took this opportunity to try something new knowing we could probably steal a piece of their pizza. We tried Elliot’s pie ($13), which is a white pie (no red sauce) with pancetta, roasted potatoes and Gorgonzola. I was really craving blue cheese, so this appealed to me. It was good, but that Gorgonzola was so mild, it didn’t have any of funk to satisfy the craving. The potatoes were small new potatoes and were cooked just right—I liked the chunky aspect. The pancetta was tasty giving the pie a salty kick.
I still preferred the slice of the BLT ($13) that we stole from my in-laws. They top this one with red sauce, Smoking Goose jowl bacon, leeks and Taleggio cheese. The strong flavor of this cheese gave me the slight stinkiness I was craving cheese-wise, and I think I have decided that I like Napolese pizza with red sauce the best. You know that jowl bacon is gonna be good too. Both pizzas’ crusts were perfect—crisp with some dark areas, but not so blackened that it tasted bad. The kids split a cheese pizza and may have found their new favorite pizza.
I like the way the Fashion Mall is incorporating smaller local places, and some smaller chains (Cheesecake Factory notwithstanding). It’s nice to have a “nicer” independent place where you can get quality food and even a glass of wine if you want, right in the mall.
8702 Keystone Crossing