Monday, March 23, 2009

Pizzeria Libretto

I’m not going to lie, I absolutely love pizza. I like it thin crust and I eat it with a knife and fork. My preference is to have it well done to the point where the cheese kind of goes a bit brown and with some sort of Italian meat on it. Chicken on pizza? Never. Olives? Always. Oh yeah, and don’t forget the drizzle of a nice extra virgin olive oil. Fantastic.

Pizzeria Libretto, 221 Ossington Avenue, is definitely all about the pizza. Their wood burning oven from Naples turns them out in 90 seconds with a 900 degree temperature. They are thin and slightly burnt from the intense heat. They get points for offering a spelt crust (wheat and I are not big friends) and for creativity with the use of ingredients like duck confit.

Unfortunately, they lose points for so many other things.

My first visit started out with a mediocre bottle of Nero D’Avola while we sampled some antipasti. House made wild boar capicollo ($6) was intriguing yet disappointing. Number one – it was crazy chintzy with an offering of maybe four slices. Number two - having grown up in an Italian famiglia, I have seen my share of hanging, cured meats and this one didn’t resemble any type of capicollo I’ve ever feasted on. Rather wet and greasy, it resembled a pancetta more so than capicollo and it certainly didn’t taste like wild boar. C’mon, do they really have a cantina in the basement?

I chose to set up the pig with some Rochetta ($6), a sharp goat’s cheese – small piece again. Not worth six dollars. I liked the Heirloom tomato and Burrata cheese salad ($9). The cheese was as smooth as butter, the tomatoes reminded me of September and the understated dressing let those flavours and textures shine through.

A good old stand by for me is always a quattro stagione pizza (the four seasons) because sometimes I can’t decide between just a few ingredients. Libretto’s version ($15) disappoints.
The salami quarter (winter) was satisfactory as was the spring and summer portions. The artichokes were nice and the green olives were ok but I really just wanted to skip the fall and go right into the next year. This quarter is always mushrooms and I love mushrooms. I repeat, I love mushrooms. These ones were downright gross. They were grassy and earthy and not in a good way. They tasted like dirt because I don’t think they were soaked enough. I picked them off.

That was back in October so I decided to give them another go. Besides, they have conjured up some serious supporters so perhaps I missed something.

Well, after a second visit, I am still not impressed. What is everyone saying when they claim this is great pizza? I'm really confused.

My prosciutto and mozzarella pizza ($16) was at best, alright. It was so stingy on the cheese that it was more of a red pizza than anything else. The prosciutto tasted like a dead pig - I realize this sounds absurd and so what I mean is that the meat tasted old and expired. I don't know.

My date's sausage pizza with caramelized onions, mozzarella and chilli oil ($15) was better but forget it. Too much oil paired with too many oily onions just equalled a greasy mess. Tasty at first but when you got to the third piece, the stomach ache started to set in.

Libretto, I give up. Skip this place and go straight to Terroni.

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