Author Topic: Headed to Denver  (Read 9634 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline widespreadpizza

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 1227
  • Location: NH
    • my beer store opening in june 2011
Headed to Denver
« on: August 29, 2007, 09:32:38 PM »
Hey all, headed out to Denver after labor day , any suggestions of any good woodburned or deep dish pizza I shoud try out there?Figured I would check.  I'll be there for CEDIA till 9/10.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  Also I will be hitting many a brewery,  if there is something I should not miss please let it be known.!  :pizza: >:D          thanks!  -marc 


Offline abatardi

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 432
  • Age: 53
  • Location: Santa Clara, CA
  • It's MOOPS!
Re: Headed to Denver
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2007, 10:10:54 PM »
I was just there last weekend.  Didn't find any place worth mentioning.

Good luck though.. if you find some place good definitely let me know about it.  I will be back there in a month or two.

- aba
« Last Edit: August 29, 2007, 10:12:56 PM by abatardi »
Make me a bicycle CLOWN!

Offline abatardi

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 432
  • Age: 53
  • Location: Santa Clara, CA
  • It's MOOPS!
Re: Headed to Denver
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2007, 12:25:48 AM »
Find anything good?  I am heading there this weekend again...

- aba
Make me a bicycle CLOWN!

Offline Grog

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 47
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Headed to Denver
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2007, 12:21:46 AM »
I moved to Denver recently.  My preference is for Neapolitan style pizzas.  Awhile back, I stumbled across Via Baci in the Lone Star area, in front of a Super Target.  They make brick oven pizzas using 00 flour, mozz made in-house, and sauce from San Marzano tomatoes.  When I tried them last Christmas, I thought they were great, nearly on part with marquee Neapolitan joints like 2 Amys in DC.  However, I returned last month and was a little disappointed.  It seemed that the crust was denser and tougher than before.  Also, the restaurant shifted its emphasis away from pizza to high priced pasta.  Via Baci is still a lot better than mainstream pizzas, but it is certainly not in the top tier.

There is a place called Protos that looks interesting.  I plan on trying them soon.  They also use brick ovens.  They emphasize wine.

The local favorite is Beau Jos, which makes mainstream pizzas.  Nothing remarkable about them except that they are a little bit better than the chains. 
« Last Edit: November 12, 2007, 12:58:50 AM by Grog »

Offline widespreadpizza

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 1227
  • Location: NH
    • my beer store opening in june 2011
Re: Headed to Denver
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2007, 09:29:49 AM »
Yeah ,  when I was out there I went to Protos,  or is it Prodos?  They have 4 or 5 shops in the denver area.  The oven was gas pies took a couple to 3 minutes to cook, and the crust was pretty much a cracker crust.  That being said,  It tasted good,  but is nothing at all like a real neapolitan pizza.  The place was packed though.  Just FYI  -marc

Offline abatardi

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 432
  • Age: 53
  • Location: Santa Clara, CA
  • It's MOOPS!
Re: Headed to Denver
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2007, 12:12:15 PM »
I tried Proto's and Virgilio's... Proto's was a little better but neither of them were that good.  The tomatoes at Proto's were *terrible*.  I got 3 little green chunks of stem on my small pizza.  There was some other "wood fired" place in Golden also... that was just a joke.  The dough was rolled out and to make a rim they rolled up the edge underneath itself.  It was dense and bready and no flavor.  Wish I could remember the name.

I saw the Via Baci place, but didn't go because it looked like they were just an italian place with more emphasis on pasta like you said, and I've never been to a place like that that had good pizza.  I'll probably be back there next month, I might give it a shot.

- aba

Make me a bicycle CLOWN!

Offline Grog

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 47
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Headed to Denver
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2007, 01:07:44 AM »
Based on the comments above, I can't get too excited about Protos, although I'll still try them.  This passage from an article on their press page speaks volumes:  "We were so busy during the restaurant's construction, that three days before the opening Rhame looked at me and said 'I'm really worried that we don't even have a dough recipe yet.'  So I went into the kitchen and after two hours I had our dough and sauce recipes ready to go and they haven't changed since." 

I also had to chuckle a bit at the other press article in which the owners provide a recipe for a "Neapolitan style pizza" that has "no need for special equipment." 
« Last Edit: November 12, 2007, 01:11:11 AM by Grog »

Offline abatardi

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 432
  • Age: 53
  • Location: Santa Clara, CA
  • It's MOOPS!
Re: Headed to Denver
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2007, 03:23:09 AM »
Yeah exactly... they are not authentic by any means.  Oh well, Denver residents seem to love them
Make me a bicycle CLOWN!

Offline Grog

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 47
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Headed to Denver
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2007, 04:14:13 PM »
I visited Protos in downtown Denver, finally.  It is a self-styled Neapolitan pizzeria located just outside of LoDo.  Surprisingly, it was not too crowded at 6pm on a Friday night, right before the annual Parade of Lights.  The interior was cheery and full of fashionable employees proudly showing off their pierced body parts and tattoos.  As with all fashionable places in Denver, there was no deviation from the standard uniform of torn jeans, t-shirts, and fleece pullovers among the employees.  A brick oven was positioned altar-like in the middle of the open kitchen.

The menu at Protos has salads and pizza, and although I didn't check, they are supposed to have a good selection of wines.  I ordered a sausage pizza, which was mediocre.  The cheese was shredded (which I don't expect to see on Neapolitan pies) and unremarkable.  The crust was crackery, not soft, and there was no char.  It turns out that the oven is gas fired.  The waiter said that the oven temperature was 900F, but the pizzas took four minutes to cook -- which is about as long as my 600F electric oven takes.

My wife had better luck with her food.  She ordered a pineapple bacon pizza with chipotle sauce, which turned out to be a wonderful combination of toppings. 

Afterwards, we had a terrific creme de leche gelato.

I think I have finally visited all of the best pizza places in Denver.  My favorite place is Via Baci, in Lone Star (close to Park Meadows Mall).  Protos is probably a distant second.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2007, 04:28:23 PM by Grog »

Offline Grog

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 47
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Headed to Denver
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2007, 04:24:33 PM »
abartadi -- was the wood fired oven place you visited called Woody's?  I just saw that you wrote about rolling the crust underneath itself.  Woody's -- which is a chain -- uses this technique at their Hampden Ave. location.

I always suspected that wood burning ovens could be abused in a way that would produce pizzas even worse than the mainstream chains.  I never saw such a technique perfected until I visited Woody's.  I rank them well below the Costco snack bar.

I suppose I am being a bit unfair.  Woody's is primarily a sports bar, and on Sundays, it is packed.  If you are looking for artisan pizza, go elsewhere.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2007, 04:27:35 PM by Grog »


Offline abatardi

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 432
  • Age: 53
  • Location: Santa Clara, CA
  • It's MOOPS!
Re: Headed to Denver
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2007, 12:38:58 AM »
Grog - Yes it was Woody's!  Perfect review, hit the nail on the head.  :-D  I think Costco is about 10x better than this place..
Make me a bicycle CLOWN!

Offline bkcooks

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 1
Re: Headed to Denver
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2008, 03:15:39 PM »
I live near Park Meadows Mall. I am going to try Via Baci soon. My favorite pizza place ever was Olive's. One day I went there and it was boarded up. The notice said they were going to relocate but they never reappeared. It was not a traditional pizza, but it was really good.

Offline Grog

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 47
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Headed to Denver
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2008, 07:33:04 PM »
Today I went to The Oven Pizza e Vino, located in Lakewood, in the new Bel Mar development.  The Oven recently received stellar reviews in the Rocky Mountain News and Westword, and it seems to be regarded as the best pizzeria in Denver right now.  Type "The Oven Pizza e Vino" in Google and you'll reach the relevant links.  However, since Denver has been (and for the most part still is) a pizza wasteland, you have to take into account the inexperienced palates of the locals when reading these reviews.

The Oven is in the restaurant district of the new Bel Mar development in Lakewood, about 10 minutes from downtown.  It was opened by Mark Tarbell, a well known chef from Phoenix who probably decided against going head to head with Chris Bianco in Phoenix.  He was an iron chef, winning against Cat Cora (if that means anything).  The Oven is new and sparkly and has two, count 'em, two wood burning pizza ovens.  The waitstaff is young, good-looking, and efficient.  They use top ingredients.  Mozz is made in-house, and they use locally produced organic flour from Rocky Mountain Milling (which I personally use as well). 

The Oven has several long tables that seat multiple parties (hate 'em), as well as a couple of two-tops.  I sat at a two-top close to the ovens to see the action.  They use a very dry dough, each individually wrapped in plastic.  I saw this done at another Denver pizzeria (Proto's) and wondered why anyone would go through the trouble to wrap each dough ball with plastic.  I later learned from personal experience that Denver's altitude and dry air, it takes very little time for dough to dry out and get crusty. These dry dough balls are unwrapped and slowly worked by hand into skins without any tossing.  They are cooked in a wood burning oven for several minutes.  I didn't count to see the cook times, but it took at least three minutes, so it is definitely not a Neapolitan style of pizza.  The ovens do not seem to be very hot. 

I ordered a sausage pizza, which features the mozz made in-house and sausage from Marczyk's Fine Foods, a local establishment that sells organic products to foodies.  My wife ordered a barbeque chicken pizza.  The flavor combinations for both pizzas were excellent.  The barbeque sauce in my wife's pizza was memorable.

The let-down was the crust.  I thought that the flavor was ok, but it was thin and dense, and it lacked the light, puffy texture that I have come to expect at high end pizzerias.  As we chowed through our pizzas, the crust became harder and tougher.  This pizza would be a disaster to anyone ordering take-out.  It's a shame, because I use the same flour in a 600-degree home oven (with Camaldoli starter) and get better results.  (Btw, Rocky Mountain Milling sells 50-lbs sacks of their organic flour to anyone willing to make the drive out to Plattsville.)

For dessert, I tried the oven-baked donut.  It tasted like a regular donut, dusted with cinnamon and sugar.  It was served with a very nice chocolate-coffee mascarpone crème.  My wife had the apple pie with vanilla ice cream.  The pie was overly tart. 

I'm putting The Oven in a category that includes Mozza and Comet Ping Pong -- pizzerias started by well known chefs that have top rate toppings but mediocre crust. 

« Last Edit: January 25, 2008, 07:43:25 PM by Grog »

Offline abatardi

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 432
  • Age: 53
  • Location: Santa Clara, CA
  • It's MOOPS!
Re: Headed to Denver
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2008, 01:12:13 AM »
Thanks for the update Grog.  I'll have to try them next time I'm in the area, and I'll have to remember to pick up some of that flour as well.

- aba
Make me a bicycle CLOWN!

Offline abatardi

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 432
  • Age: 53
  • Location: Santa Clara, CA
  • It's MOOPS!
Re: Headed to Denver
« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2008, 11:07:15 PM »
I tried "the oven pizza e vino" tonight... I braved a pretty decent snowstorm to do it too so I was even more upset with the quality...

I timed the pizza bake at 6 minutes with a rotate at 2min and 3:30.  When I first got in I was wondering why they needed two huge wood fired ovens ("Uno" and "Due") for a place with max capacity of 47 people.  Now I know... there was only a small fire and bakes were taking forever so I guess they might need them when it's busy.  The cheese looked like they were using shredded, but not sure. 

I had a Margherita and my wife had a 3 cheese... the pizza guy messed up and put basil on hers and not on mine... I saw the waitress point out the mistake so he just picked the basil off hers and put it on mine.  Interesting... :-)

The first thought to hit my mind when I took the first bite was "oily".  There was no visible sauce and it was very greasy.  I think they must have had problems with the sauce being soupy so the solution must be to put barely any on.  The pizza was also overly salty and there was way too much cheese.  I didn't even finish the crust or the pizza, and didn't get it to go..  I would actually reluctantly say Proto's is better. 

I also tried the donut thing for dessert.  It was actually quite tough and bready and was more like a soft bagel rolled in cinnamon sugar than a donut. 

Service: Our waitress wasn't really that attentive and seemed annoyed when my wife needed some extra time to decide what she wanted.  I asked how big the "smaller" and "bigger" pizzas were and she said a smaller is for one person and a bigger is for 2.  Thanks.  ::)  She was pretty much waiting every table though so I gave her the benefit of the doubt... only left 15% though (normally leave 20-30%).

Overall I wouldn't go back and wouldn't recommend it.  I had somewhat high hopes for this place but was let down again by mediocre Denver pizza.  I snapped a couple photos with my camera so I'll upload those when I get a chance.

- aba
Make me a bicycle CLOWN!

Offline Grog

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 47
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Headed to Denver
« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2008, 12:58:54 AM »
I was intrigued by my visit to The Oven and returned a few nights ago when some colleagues stood me up for dinner at the nearby Sushi Wasabi.  The place was packed, and my wife and I waited 30 minutes to be seated.  This time, I ordered the fresh mozzarella cheese appetizer, which according to the menu is "made right this minute."  I asked the waitress what that statement meant, and she explained that they take mozzarella curds and knead them in hot water when a customer places an order.  As someone who is struggling to make homemade mozz, let me say that the hardest part of making mozz is getting to the point where you have good curds.  Starting with curds is cheating!  I wonder they really make mozz from scratch, e.g., from milk and rennet, or if they leave the hardest part to someone else. That said, the mozz was pretty tasty, and I wish my own mozz turned out as nice. 

The pizza itself was a disappointment.  On my prior visit, both of the pizzas I tried didn't have tomatoes on them, so I was looking forward to a nicely sauced pizza.  I ordered the smoked portobello pizza.  However, as Abatardi noted, they sauce their pizzas very lightly.   So lightly that I couldn't taste it.  Also, I couldn't pick up any smoky notes in the mushrooms.  It tasted like an ordinary mushroom pizza. 

My wife had the oven roasted vegetable salad, which was merely ok. 

I think that grouping The Oven and Protos together is appropriate.  The best pizzas at both places are non-traditional.  At The Oven, I think that the bbq chicken pizza is the best option.  At Protos, I like the bacon and pineapple pizza with honey-chipotle sauce.  Both restaurants have carefully chosen wine lists.  The pizzas have similar textures, although my recollection is that Protos' crust is crispier.  Both places use the technique of individually wrapping dough balls in plastic.  I have to wonder how long dough prep takes. 

In the past few months, I have been fortunate enough to try out a number of well regarded pizzerias in DC, L.A., Portland, and Las Vegas.  My top 5 favorites are, in no particular order:  Moroni Bros. (unknown place in DC), Ken's Artisan Pizza, 2 Amys, Settebelo, and Mozza.  In February I'll be trying out some of the elite pizzerias in NYC (UPN, Luzzos), and I hope this trip helps me recalibrate my standards for high end pizza.

When compared to the places I've tried in other places, Denver's pizza scene is pretty bad.  I think that I have to give the nod for the best pizza to Via Baci, which serves a respectable Neapolitan pie.  The first time I visited, they had a brochure that said that they used Caputo 00 flour, San Marzano tomatoes, and homemade mozz.  A few months ago they reworked their menu to focus on pasta, but the the pizza was still pretty good.


Offline jimd

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 133
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Headed to Denver
« Reply #16 on: May 27, 2008, 03:15:15 PM »
Any updates on this thread? I am heading to Denver this weekend and was disappointed to read in this topic that Denver pizza has not yet hit its stride.

If there are any updated suggestions, I would be grateful to hear them and would be happy to report on my visit.

Thanks in advance,

Jim

Offline David

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 966
  • What’s So Funny ‘Bout Pizza Love and Understanding
Re: Headed to Denver
« Reply #17 on: June 09, 2008, 03:13:24 PM »
Just got back from Denver and there is a new place on larimer st called Marco's doing Neapolitan with wood ovens,caputo,san marzanos and buffala etc.
If you're looking for a date... go to the Supermarket.If you're looking for a wife....go to the Farmers market

Offline Grog

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 47
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Headed to Denver
« Reply #18 on: June 16, 2008, 01:32:55 AM »
I went to Osteria Marco in Larimer Square as soon as I heard about it.  One of Denver's best known chefs, Frank Bonnano, opened this place recently.  It's got an upscale yuppie vibe, and fairly typical prices for artisan pizza ($9 to $15, depending on the toppings). 

To start, I ordered the burrata appetizer, since I have never had it before.  I thought that it would have a runny ricotta center inside a ball of mozz, wrapped in leek greens or something similar.  Instead, it looked like a pile of ricotta the size of a flattened golf ball, with a little olive oil and pepper sprinkled on top.  It was ok, but at $9, it was an experiment I won't repeat. 

When asking about the pizza, the waitress said all the right things -- imported Italian flour, brick oven, San Marzano tomatoes, etc.  But when I asked specifically whether the oven burned wood or was heated with gas, she had to check before confirming that it was indeed gas.  Bad sign, as I have never had a great pizza from a gas fired oven.

When we finally got the pizzas, they were large and looked ok.  My first bite was pretty good in terms of texture, but as the pizzas cooled, the flaws became evident.  There was no char on the top of the pizzas, but the bottoms were burned and turned tough as the pizzas cooled.  My wife started scraping the top of the pizza and leaving the bottoms.  Evidently, the heat in the oven was unbalanced.  The "Proscuitto" pizza I ordered was bland.  My wife's "Carne" pizza tasted ok, but it was nothing special.  My sister ordered a sausage pizza, which was the best one, but still nothing approaching the best pizzas I've had in Denver.

So how does Osteria Marco fare against Denver's best?  I think I'll lump it with The Oven, Proto's, and Parisi.  Each of these places does something to their crusts that prevents them from achieving an elite pizza.   My nod for Denver's best pizza still goes to Via Baci, by default.


Offline David

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 966
  • What’s So Funny ‘Bout Pizza Love and Understanding
Re: Headed to Denver
« Reply #19 on: June 20, 2008, 02:15:58 PM »


This is the place I was referring to Grog.Purely and simply a pizzeria with coal fired wings and a couple of sandwiches.......

http://www.marcoscoalfiredpizza.com/
If you're looking for a date... go to the Supermarket.If you're looking for a wife....go to the Farmers market


 

pizzapan