Author Topic: Atlanta - Antico and Verasano's  (Read 3976 times)

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Offline wheelman

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Atlanta - Antico and Verasano's
« on: October 11, 2010, 10:42:56 AM »
 I've visited both of these Atlanta spots recently.  Pizza Antico Napoli is maybe the most fun restaurant ever.  The place is full of people, everyone is working their way into a seat at the communal tables, and watching the three WFOs turning out lots of pies.  Giovanni is a super guy who was really fun to talk to about pizza.  I would never criticize anything this guy does, but i'll describe what we got.  The Margarita was very tasty, but very thick and bready.  The cheese was a little rubbery, but good.  We also had a couple of the other pies.  The most popular was one with peppadews and sausage, and a spicy one had a huge amount of spicy pepperoni and peppers.  I guess my biggest surprise was the thickness of the crust.  But this guy knows what he's doing, and obviously that's the way he wants it.  He uses San Felice and a long room temp rise with yeast (not sure what kind but not sourdough).  http://www.anticopizza.it/kitchen.html .  photos> sign, margarita, base of margarita.

I don't have pictures from Verasano's but you can picture pretty much the perfect pie and that's it.  The first time i went there i got a plain Margarita and watched the guy make it.  he built it on a wood peel and after liberally spraying down the floor of the deck oven with a sprayer, cooked it for about 2 min.  It was good but didn't blow me away for some reason.  Last time, we had a buffala Margarita.  It was near perfect, with one glaring exception.  As before, the guy grated a huge amount of parmigiana over everything.  To me, it totally overpowers all the other ingredients.  It also makes it really salty.  The sauce is very bright and perfect, the cheese is nice, and the crust is as good as i've ever had - but it was all cloaked in salty parm.  the oven readout said 367, or about 700f.  I saw some bags of caputo pizzeria, and what looked like sourdough starter.  the place is pretty fancy, nice and clean and modern.  not near as much fun as Antico.  Again, i can't begin to criticize JV.  I have learned a lot from that guy and respect what he does.  I'll definately go back. 

I wonder how these two compare to the Neapolitan standard? 







Offline scott r

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Re: Atlanta - Antico and Verasano's
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2010, 11:26:53 AM »
Jeff is very against the neapolitan standard.   I wish I could go into details, but basically, after a trip to naples he came to the conclusion that there is absolutely nothing in common between his ideal pizza and what Naples had to offer.    He was even given a guided tour of all of the best places by marco (including slavo, da michele, etc.).    For him it was an empowering experience because it freed  him from any need to stick to tradition, and I think that is what makes Jeff such an amazing pizza maker.   He is only concerned with experimentation and making himself happy with his pizza regardless of how he gets the end product. 

I can't believe the pictures of the other place are from a pizzeria claiming to serve pizza napoletanna.   Those do not look right at all!

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Atlanta - Antico and Verasano's
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2010, 11:57:25 AM »
Scott thanks for your post about Varasano.  My opinion and respect for him just skyrocketed. 

Offline bicster

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Re: Atlanta - Antico and Verasano's
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2010, 01:51:40 PM »
i had the pleasure of trying varasano's twice last november. the only way i can describe it is:  the pizza is better than the sum of its parts.

i wasnt blown away by any aspect individually, but fold it up, take a bite, and wow, we were transported to pizza nirvana. his pizza is now what im trying to recreate.

its a shame hes not as amenable to pizza discussion now that hes a "big shot." ive been here since 2005 and remember his roots quite well.

Offline wheelman

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Re: Atlanta - Antico and Verasano's
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2010, 08:36:53 PM »
is Margarita Regina the same as VPN or another Neapolitan organization?  I guess I'm not sure exactly what the standard is, but it seemed to me that Verasano's was much closer to Neapolitan than Antico.  Thanks for the insight Scott. 

Offline scott r

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Re: Atlanta - Antico and Verasano's
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2010, 02:32:17 AM »
Im sure theres more to it, and I know its all political, but I think margherita regina is basically the same thing as vpn, but aligned with san felice flour, whre the vpn crowd is more aligned with caputo flour.   Im sure antico is technically doing everything right as far as margherita regina is concerned, but that doesn't mean the pizza is going to be any good.   Dough can still be over/under proofed, ovens can be too cool, cheese might be fresh mozzarella but not a great brand, etc.   

Jeff is definitely not following any neapolitan guidelines, but there are similarities.   Some caputo flour in his blend, the spiral mixer, the wild yeast, these are all things that are more typically associated with neapolitan, but thats where the similarities end.    Oven temps really dictate pizza styles more than anything, and 700 is absolutely NY coal oven style pizza.

It looks like antico is cooking in a 700 degree oven too, but doing everything else "neapolitan", and for me that can definitely be the recipe for some really bad pizza.   Rather than having three ovens running too cool, they should try just cranking up one of them!   
« Last Edit: October 12, 2010, 02:45:13 AM by scott r »

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Atlanta - Antico and Verasano's
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2010, 10:05:30 AM »
scott r,

From what I have read and what you and a few others have reported, it sounds like there is almost no commercial pizza operator left in Naples that is using a natural starter and saying so. With Jeff and Pete Taylor and Anthony Mangieri and a few others I have read about, it sounds like there are more commercial pizza operators in the U.S. who are using natural starters/preferments than in Naples. Is that your understanding?

Peter

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Atlanta - Antico and Verasano's
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2010, 10:10:13 AM »
It looks like antico is cooking in a 700 degree oven too, but doing everything else "neapolitan", and for me that can definitely be the recipe for some really bad pizza.   Rather than having three ovens running too cool, they should try just cranking up one of them!   

I understand the point you are making here but can't this also be a recipe for some really good pizza?  Isn't Bianco doing something similar to this? I understand he's probably not using caputo but doesn't he bake at lower temps and doing everything else pretty much NP style?

cornicione54

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Re: Atlanta - Antico and Verasano's
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2010, 10:41:55 AM »
It looks like antico is cooking in a 700 degree oven too, but doing everything else "neapolitan", and for me that can definitely be the recipe for some really bad pizza.   Rather than having three ovens running too cool, they should try just cranking up one of them!   


<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWkYUnYhiBc" target="_blank" class="aeva_link bbc_link new_win">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWkYUnYhiBc</a>

I'm not so sure. The application of toppings is somewhat untraditional (neapolitan). With regards to the temp: at around 6:40 on the video they take oven temperature readings which are at around 950F. The operator claims all 3 are running at the same temp (1000F).

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Atlanta - Antico and Verasano's
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2010, 10:53:23 AM »
Very cool video! On the first pie, the edges are burnt and he tore a hole in it.  Stretched it too thin!  Glad to see the pros not being so perfect.  :-D  Love the way they sauce and throw toppings on like they don't give a d@mn.  :-D


Offline scott r

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Re: Atlanta - Antico and Verasano's
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2010, 12:30:49 PM »
scott r,

From what I have read and what you and a few others have reported, it sounds like there is almost no commercial pizza operator left in Naples that is using a natural starter and saying so. With Jeff and Pete Taylor and Anthony Mangieri and a few others I have read about, it sounds like there are more commercial pizza operators in the U.S. who are using natural starters/preferments than in Naples. Is that your understanding?

Peter

absolutely.   there may only be two pizzerias in naples still using wild yeast, but at one time that is the only way pizza was made there. 

Offline scott r

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Re: Atlanta - Antico and Verasano's
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2010, 12:37:29 PM »
I understand the point you are making here but can't this also be a recipe for some really good pizza?  Isn't Bianco doing something similar to this? I understand he's probably not using caputo but doesn't he bake at lower temps and doing everything else pretty much NP style?

Bianco, just like jeff, was not as impressed with neapolitan pizza as most would think,  just the ingredient and quality and true passion for the craft that is common throughout all of Italy.  He told me that his favorite pizzas in italy were from another region using lower temps, the name of which I have now forgotten :(.      Again, like jeff, his end product has more in common with NY elite pizza,  but taken to the next level.   Even his hand stretching method is not neapolitan, old dough method, he uses american bread flour, his oven is incapable of an even bake at ultra high temps, so no,,  chris is not making a neapolitan-similar pizza.  People just see a wood burning oven and assume that.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2010, 12:59:37 PM by scott r »

Offline scott r

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Re: Atlanta - Antico and Verasano's
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2010, 12:41:55 PM »
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWkYUnYhiBc
I'm not so sure. The application of toppings is somewhat untraditional (neapolitan). With regards to the temp: at around 6:40 on the video they take oven temperature readings which are at around 950F. The operator claims all 3 are running at the same temp (1000F).



When I said "It looks like antico is cooking in a 700 degree oven too" I was going by the pizza in the picture above.   Notice the solid black portion of the crust on the side in the second picture, and the paleness everywhere else, along with the bready crumb.  There is absolutely no way this pizza was cooked above 750 degrees.   

It is very common for neapolitan pizzerias in the us to claim one temp, or start out with one temp, only to learn the amazing amounts of money they can save by lowering that temp once in operation for a while. 
« Last Edit: October 12, 2010, 12:52:12 PM by scott r »

Offline wheelman

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Re: Atlanta - Antico and Verasano's
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2010, 12:43:58 PM »
that's a great video!  since they made that Antico has added six large tables in the kitchen area.  they had to shorten up the handles on those peels.  it's an amazing place, really fun.  

Offline wheelman

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Re: Atlanta - Antico and Verasano's
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2010, 12:45:58 PM »
I agree, my pizza didn't look to have been baked at 900 degrees. 

Offline scott r

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Re: Atlanta - Antico and Verasano's
« Reply #15 on: October 12, 2010, 12:55:44 PM »
It is very common for neapolitan pizzerias in the US to claim one temp, or start out with one temp, only to learn the amazing amounts of money they can save by lowering that temp once in operation for a while.  Marco has admitted to me that even in naples on slow days or times of the day, pizerias under fire their ovens.    I was there during one of these times, and I have to say, the pizza everywhere I checked was still cooking at much much higher temps than I have seen at just about anywhere in the US. (probably too high for many american's tastes). 
« Last Edit: October 12, 2010, 12:57:25 PM by scott r »

Offline widespreadpizza

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Re: Atlanta - Antico and Verasano's
« Reply #16 on: October 12, 2010, 07:41:39 PM »
Scott,  the one that still amazes me is right up here in my neck of the woods  900 degrees in manchester NH.  Using the worong oven,  wrong temp,  right ingredients,  and wrong methods.  They call themselves 900 degrees,  if they were to try and keep that massive oven at 900 they would surely go through a cord or more in a week.  I have seen it as low as 650 and not much higher.   They dont even know that if they were using something like KA bread or GM better for bread,  they could actually turn out a great pizza.  There is another one too,  the other side of the coin.  Angelas in tyngsboro.  They are coal fired,  but they run nice italian ovens really hot even when its slow.  The problem is they are using  a malted bromated flour,  and it burns before it can really cook all the way through.  Its so funny because if these two places traded doughs,  I bet they would both put out a great product.....   -marc

Offline ponzu

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Re: Atlanta - Antico and Verasano's
« Reply #17 on: October 13, 2010, 02:34:42 AM »
Man that video is none to impressive.  Especially the part at the end of the bake when the pizzaolo uses a ladel to slide some sauce over the tear in the pizza dough ???. The dough handling also looked somewhat unskilled to my eye.

The pizza might be great, but the overall feel of the operation just seems kind of amature, half assed and sloppy to me.

If the pie tastes great all is forgiven, but somehow I doubt that the pie is trancendant.

AZ

cornicione54

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Re: Atlanta - Antico and Verasano's
« Reply #18 on: October 13, 2010, 02:52:44 AM »
I'm more curious why they need 3 ovens. Are they really using each one to full capacity? 

Offline shango

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Re: Atlanta - Antico and Verasano's
« Reply #19 on: October 13, 2010, 12:59:52 PM »
absolutely.   there may only be two pizzerias in naples still using wild yeast, but at one time that is the only way pizza was made there. 
I'm using room temp naturally leavened dough @ Pizzeria Orso...
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