Author Topic: Il Pizzaiolo, Mt. Lebanon (Pittsburgh) PA  (Read 22137 times)

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Offline pizzanapoletana

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Re: Il Pizzaiolo, Mt. Lebanon (Pittsburgh) PA
« Reply #20 on: April 20, 2007, 12:12:09 PM »
Great pictures, thanks.

I am not questioning your preference, but was trying to give it a perspective. The better or worse balance is arguable. Funny enough the less sauce situation is more inclined to the US market then anything else, however for what I see in your picture of UPN, that seams a bit too much.

Also, I am not trying to argue here, but in the same UPN pictures, bottom-right hand corner, the lower part of the cornicione seams to be on the burning side. I did not question the top, and in fact look OK, but the problem with the 7 pizze we  were served at UPN was that were all burnt and all had the same defects, both in baking as well as handling... It would be interesting to see a picture of the under crust as for the one you posted of il Pizzaiolo (which seams 99% perfect from a bottom crust cooking)


Offline ratana

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Re: Il Pizzaiolo, Mt. Lebanon (Pittsburgh) PA
« Reply #21 on: April 20, 2007, 01:05:46 PM »
Great pictures, thanks.

I am not questioning your preference, but was trying to give it a perspective. The better or worse balance is arguable. Funny enough the less sauce situation is more inclined to the US market then anything else, however for what I see in your picture of UPN, that seams a bit too much.

Also, I am not trying to argue here, but in the same UPN pictures, bottom-right hand corner, the lower part of the cornicione seams to be on the burning side. I did not question the top, and in fact look OK, but the problem with the 7 pizze we  were served at UPN was that were all burnt and all had the same defects, both in baking as well as handling... It would be interesting to see a picture of the under crust as for the one you posted of il Pizzaiolo (which seams 99% perfect from a bottom crust cooking)

I see what you mean with the burnt area. I will need to pay better attention next time I go back.  The pizza I had in naples, compared to what I have had in the US, seemed to be more elegant with LESS ingredients.  So I am deferring to you and asking, is "less" the true Italian way to do it?  With less ingredients, less dough, and less cheese, to have a (to my palate) better pizza?  It seems every place I have tried in the US, they use a lot more dough than what I had and a lot more cheese. I have attached an example of a Da Michele pie (can you say what is good and bad about this one?).  I think they were not using Bufala, and the olive oil was not amazing, but I found it better overall than UPN or Il Pizzaiolo (but this was several years ago, so my memory could be faulty). I just really liked the understated elegance of it.  And the price!!

To keep it on topic, I do highly recommend Il Pizzaiolo now. The first picture from the first post in the thread, is somewhat what I remember it being like.  But now I think due to the hotter oven everything melts better and works much better together. So my review is complete approval and I recommend anyone that was not impressed previously to go try the new oven.

Offline sumeri

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Re: Il Pizzaiolo, Mt. Lebanon (Pittsburgh) PA
« Reply #22 on: April 20, 2007, 03:29:05 PM »
Great looking pizza!  I'm sure Ron was as happy as I was to get rid of his pre fab oven.
That pizza is exactly like I love it.  Spots of heavy tomato and other spots with very light tomato but oil and parmigiano...for my tastes perfection!

Hey Marco I tried to send you a private message but your box is full.

Offline pizzanapoletana

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Re: Il Pizzaiolo, Mt. Lebanon (Pittsburgh) PA
« Reply #23 on: April 20, 2007, 04:18:07 PM »
Ratana,

enough is more, I would say. Not too much tomato but just about the right quantity to cover the desired area with a tiny amount. I would say the pizza in the Da Michele picture you have posted is just about right but with too much oil and that particular one was slightly burnt on the top left corner. They do it at times, but there it depends more on the proximity to the flame inside the oven.


Brad, send me an email to the globe under my name.

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Offline shango

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Re: Il Pizzaiolo, Mt. Lebanon (Pittsburgh) PA
« Reply #24 on: April 20, 2007, 06:08:57 PM »
looks like that burnt edge may have been caught on the peel?  Maybe.

Regardless, a beautiful pizza, to be sure!

pizza, pizza, pizza

Offline scott r

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Re: Il Pizzaiolo, Mt. Lebanon (Pittsburgh) PA
« Reply #25 on: May 07, 2007, 02:32:29 AM »
Ratana, I am so glad you made it back to Il Pizzaiolo.  I have to admit that I was actually worried about ron getting a new oven.  His pizza was so amazing before, and I thought that a faster baking oven could lead to soupy pizza.  A highly regarded forum member had just visited Naples right before Ron got the new oven and the reports I received were that all the pies he had in Naples were much too wet.  Well, as it turns out I had nothing to fear. The pies coming out of the new oven at Il Pizzaiolo are even better than the old ones, and I can definitely say that for my tastes are the best that I can find in the US.  Although Ron strives for authenticity, I think that subconsciously he is effected by growing up in America and is staying away from the super high hydration doughs and the extra wet cheese and sauce that can lead to that soupy pizza that can be part of the Neapolitan experience. Even with these 1 minute bakes there was no gummy layer under the sauce, something I have found at other Neapolitan pizzerias here in the US. 

My favorite thing about the pizza I tried is how tender and light the crust is.  This is one thing that must be hard to perfect, since most other neapolitan pizzerias I have been to in the US have had a chewier, tougher crust texture.  The faster bake allowed by the new oven has seemed to help make the pizzas even softer, while still maintaining a slight crispness to the outside layer.

As far as the new oven goes, I was served 60 second pies that were cooked completely even top to bottom.  I was shocked at how little effort was exerted to get the bake perfect in this oven, and the minimal wood consumption needed to achieve these fast bakes.

On this visit I was able to taste many more of the pasta dishes and I have to say that Ron's pasta's are every bit as good as his pizzas.  The dishes I sampled were better than anything I can find in the North end of Boston (our little Italy), and were actually much cheaper than anything that comes close to that quality in Boston.  I can not say enough good things about this restaurant.  If anybody is serious about pizza napoletana or any of the foods of this region of Italy a visit to Il Pizzaiolo is a must!

Offline scott r

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Re: Il Pizzaiolo, Mt. Lebanon (Pittsburgh) PA
« Reply #26 on: May 07, 2007, 02:59:42 AM »
perfect char

Offline scott r

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Re: Il Pizzaiolo, Mt. Lebanon (Pittsburgh) PA
« Reply #27 on: May 07, 2007, 03:02:27 AM »
perfect pies

Offline scott r

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Re: Il Pizzaiolo, Mt. Lebanon (Pittsburgh) PA
« Reply #28 on: May 07, 2007, 03:04:08 AM »
Pasta

Offline shango

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Re: Il Pizzaiolo, Mt. Lebanon (Pittsburgh) PA
« Reply #29 on: May 07, 2007, 08:54:25 AM »
Beautiful pizze!

I was wondering;  are the pizze here served sliced?

Also, I could not see any oregano on the Marinara?  weird.

Uh, I believe that is B and W arugula..If so, it is good.

Can't wait to try this place..(I wonder if they need any kitchen help..)
pizza, pizza, pizza


Offline shango

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Re: Il Pizzaiolo, Mt. Lebanon (Pittsburgh) PA
« Reply #30 on: May 07, 2007, 08:56:00 AM »
Another thing, I would like to see a picture of the crumb if you have one..

Thanks,
-E
pizza, pizza, pizza

Offline scott r

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Re: Il Pizzaiolo, Mt. Lebanon (Pittsburgh) PA
« Reply #31 on: May 07, 2007, 12:20:24 PM »
shango, I wish I did have some crumb shots.   It's a lower hydration dough so it doesn't have the huge (visually impressive) voids you see in Marcos and Ciro's photo's, but for eating I like it this way!  You get a bit more crisp, yet the dough is still super soft and melt in your mouth.

I think there was a tiny bit of oregano on there, but if I am not mistaken in Italy it is thought that basil and oregano do not go together.  Ron made these pizzas special for me and I am a basil lover!

The pies do come sliced.   Il pizzaiolo is in Pittsburgh after all, and also realize that pizza is a tiny part of Rons business.  This is really more of a full service Italian restaurant, and oh........the Desserts!  He has told me that some day he is going to open a dedicated Neapolitan pizzeria where the pizza comes out unsliced.

Offline pizzanapoletana

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Re: Il Pizzaiolo, Mt. Lebanon (Pittsburgh) PA
« Reply #32 on: May 08, 2007, 07:46:31 AM »
Hi Scott,

Thanks for the pictures. My only point on your comments, would be to clarify the low hidration statement:

For a Caputo dough a low hidration percentage, in general terms, would be something >56%. I believe Ron's dough is above that percentage. Also when using filtered water (or any soft water compared to an hard water area), the actual effect on the dough formation may be more likely an higher percentage dough.

The voids or crumb structure, in any case, are not totally dependent by the hidration, and in actual fact there are few more factors to consider.

Ciao

Offline sanchez

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Re: Il Pizzaiolo, Mt. Lebanon (Pittsburgh) PA
« Reply #33 on: May 17, 2007, 06:59:35 AM »
I live about an hour from this place so it's not exactly next door but the the next time I'm in d'Burgh I'll be sure to stop by and check this joint out.  Do they have a website.  I couldn't seem to find one.

Are there any other Pittsburgh Pizza hotspots?

Offline TONY

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Re: Il Pizzaiolo, Mt. Lebanon (Pittsburgh) PA
« Reply #34 on: May 17, 2007, 12:24:05 PM »
Sanchez,

You have to try Vincent's Pizza in Forest hills..........there are several around the Pittsburgh area.
I rank it in the top 3 in Pittsburgh.........

Tony

Offline scott r

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Re: Il Pizzaiolo, Mt. Lebanon (Pittsburgh) PA
« Reply #35 on: May 18, 2007, 01:41:53 AM »
tony, we are in total agreement.   Il Pizzaiolo and Vincents, number 1 and 2 in da burg.  Funny how they are exact opposites.

Offline sanchez

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Re: Il Pizzaiolo, Mt. Lebanon (Pittsburgh) PA
« Reply #36 on: May 26, 2007, 07:52:32 AM »
Well I had a chance to try Il Pizzaiolo yesterday and I took it.  Stopped by for a late lunch around 2:30 so the place was empty.  One other couple there.  I was really pumped up to try this pizza.  My initial impression was that the restaurant was nice although  a little more upscale than your standard pizza joint.  We sat inside instead of the patio because the weather was hot (87F).  We ordered the Pizza Margharita with pepperoni.  I sat so that I could watch the pizza being made and watched it go into the oven.  About 1 minute later they were bringing it to our table.  Very fast service which was expected since we were the only people there.  The pizza looked beautiful.  The crust was exceptional, light and tender with perfect char.  Very flavorful indeed.  Now for the bad part.  The overall pizza taste was off.  This was our first stop at Il Pizzaiolo but certainly not our first time eating Neopolitan style Pizza Margharita.  I'm not really sure how to explain the taste but both of us kind of looked at each other like something was not right.  In the end I'd say it almost had a slightly caustic taste to it.  There is really no other way I can describe it.  Almost like it had a soap taste to it.  I wonder if maybe some of his ingrediants were stored in a container that wasn't rinsed properly.  The off taste was very slight but when you are paying $16 for a 12-14 inch pizza you want it to be the best pizza you've ever eaten. 

Although I only have a 550 degree oven and a pizza stone I've made pizzas that I prefer to this one.  If I could get the Il Pizzaiolo crust with my own toppings I'd be a happy camper.  I'm not sure how excited I really am to even go back to Il Pizzaiolo.  I guess I'll try Vincents next just to say I've tried the Burgh's two best pizzarias.  Hopefully Vincent delivers. 

One last thing I was a little disappointed in concering Il Pizzaiolo is that at 2:30 in the afternoon I was not exactly concerned with drinking wine or beer so I orded a Coke.  They brought out this little micro sized 10 oz bottle and a small glass of ice and charged me $2.50 for it.  I know they want to be a little classier than your typical pizza joint but I definately could've used a little more to drink.  They did bring me a glass of water after I drank the Coke.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2007, 07:54:35 AM by sanchez »

Offline scott r

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Re: Il Pizzaiolo, Mt. Lebanon (Pittsburgh) PA
« Reply #37 on: May 27, 2007, 04:38:36 AM »
Sanchez.  Do you think it is possible that the flavor came from the crust?  It is actually quite common with really high temperature pizzas to have a flavor just as you have described.  This happens when there is even slightly too much bench flour used and it burns on the 900 degree oven floor, and as you have noted the effects are severe.  I have had pies with this ailment at numerous neapolitan pizzerias around the country, and certainly out of my own oven, but never at Il Pizzaiolo.  Other forum members have even reported this phenomenon at the Neapolitan benchmark pizzeria Da Michelle, so apparently nobody is immune from the problem.

Offline sanchez

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Re: Il Pizzaiolo, Mt. Lebanon (Pittsburgh) PA
« Reply #38 on: May 27, 2007, 10:28:11 AM »
Scott I'm really not 100% sure if it was too much bench flour or not.  I've never experienced that flavor before.  I know the texture of the crust was fantastic but it could've very well been giving it the off taste as well.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Il Pizzaiolo, Mt. Lebanon (Pittsburgh) PA
« Reply #39 on: May 27, 2007, 11:09:39 AM »
sanchez,

As a test sometime, try making one of your doughs but use a lot of bench flour and a lot of flour on your peel. Then, after baking the pizza, visually check the bottom of the finished crust, and taste the crust portion by itself. Having intentionally done this myself as an experiment, I think you will see a thin, generally white layer of flour on the bottom crust. And it will taste bitter, almost to the point of being difficult to enjoy the pizza. Raw flour is flour that has not gone through the fermentation process and it will bake up with a bitter flavor. In fact, some time ago, I received a Caputo 00 dough recipe from the importer of the flour and the recipe came with a caution to immediately remove any excess flour when working with the dough. See, for example, Reply 10 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,783.msg7219.html#msg7219 (the highlighted portion was highlighted in the recipe as I received it). Raw flour on the bottom of the dough can also affect the final bake because it can reflect heat rather than absorb it. This may not be a big factor but it is something that perhaps should best be avoided.

Quite possibly, your test might confirm or refute whether raw flour was the source of the crust flavors you detected at Il Pizzaiolo. BTW, to read more on this subject in relation to Da Michelle, see this thread: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,2902.msg24879.html#msg24879.

Peter
« Last Edit: May 27, 2007, 11:34:12 AM by Pete-zza »


 

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