Oh good, I'm not the only one bringing this back from the dead.
Robert: About Bianco's sauce. Far as I can tell, it's tomatos. Just tomatos. Maybe alittle salt. I sat there for at least 2 or 3 minutes just tasting the sauce and couldn't pull out any flavors besides tomato and more tomato.
Also, Here is the review I just finished writing over at eGullet. Cross posted for the non-eGulleters.
I just finished dinner at Pizzeria Bianco, so if this review is overly positive, and I don't think it is, it is because I'm still high on the food. I'm going to attempt to be complete here, feel free to skim.
We arrived at Pizzeria Bianco at 4:45pm and there was already about 20 people sitting outside, in 110 degree heat, on a Tuesday. I can't imagine how many are gathered on a saturday evening in the fall. Despite the heat the wait was not all that bad. There is ample seating and by this time in the day there is plenty of shade afforded by the small surrounding trees.
The other relief from the heat is Bar Bianco next door. Bar Bianco opens a 4pm and allows patrons to bring their beer outside while they wait for the pizzeria to open. There are 2 beers on tap at the bar: Four Peak's "Hop Knot" and something called a "Cream Ale". I've had the Four Peaks "Hop Knot" before, at the Four Peaks brewery/restaurant. As you might guess its very hoppy, it is golden in color and has a lot more alcohol than you might expect from it. I was only inside Bar Bianco for a moment since the pizzeria was opening in about 5 minutes. I figured on ordering the Cream Ale once seated.
Around 4:55pm a line began forming. At 5:05pm the door was opened. Pizzeria Bianco only accepts reservations for parties of 6-10 and there was a party of 10 with a reservation right at 5pm. Bianco's is only a 40 odd seat place and this party had consumed 1/4 of it. My guest and I were seated promptly, as was everyone else. The space is small enough that the host does not so much seat you, as generaly describes the area she wishes you to sit in, the rest is up to you.
Upon sitting I took a survey of the restaurant. Towards the front is a small 6-8 seat bar. Directly next to that is the open kitchen with a large cylindrical brick oven. A quick guess says it could hold 3 (MAYBE 4) pies if you're real good at managing them. The kitchen is surrounded by a counter which often sees patrons leaning against it talking to Bianco while he stretches dough.
Back to beer. Unfortunatly the Cream Ale is not available in the pizzeria. The only beer available on tap in Pizzeria Bianco is Four Peaks "Fools Gold", which I've also had before, and quite enjoy. A light gold color with a fruity aroma and a lingering head.
Five or so minutes after being seated our server brought us a small plate of sliced bread and a dish of olive oil. The bread was wonderfully crusty on the outside with a airy, chewy crumb on the inside. A few minutes later we ordered the Antipasto and the Margherita pizza. Now, I'm a firm believer in judging a pizza place on its margherita, however I'd just heard too much about the fennel sausage to pass it up, so I had them add it.
The Main Attraction(s)
The antipasto arrived within 5 or 10 minutes, I wasn't paying much attention to the clock as I was enjoying my beer. The menu has described it as wood roasted vegetables, sopressata and a bite of cheese, and thats exactly what it was, and it was amazing. On the rather generously sized plate were mushrooms, carrots, zuchinni and tomatos, all roasted. Accompanying them were 4 perfectly thin slices of sopressata, a type of dry italian salami, and 2 thick wedges of a cheese that I judged to be Asiago Fresco. But the real star of the plate was the roasted eggplant parmesan. I would happily pay for an entire plate of it. It could possibly be the absolute best eggplant parmesan I've ever had in my life. It melted on the tongue and filled my head with oil and cheese and a seductive roasted flavor that I can't stop thinking about. I'm not sure if its always on there, but ask if it is, and for the love of food, order the Antipasto!
A few minutes later our pizza arrived. Perhaps 13" in diameter with black char markes on the entire crust. Topped minimally with tomato sauce, basil and mozzerella but with a good amount of thick, bias cut fennel sausage. If the sheer fresh taste doesn't immediately grab you, the smokey, crunchy, chewy crust will. The crust is so so good I wish I could order it as a topping. I quickly consumed 2 of the 3 slices that comprised my half of the pie.
However on the third slice I was careful to evaluate the merits of the individual ingredients. The fennel in the sausage is not as apparent when masked by the sauce and cheese, but when removed from the slice and taken in small bites it really come through. I'm not a huge fennel fan, but it was quite good. I believe Bianco sources his sausage from a local place called Schreiner's Fine Sausage. This likely where the salami on the antipasto plate is sourced as well.
The cheese is fresh mozzerella that, rumor has it, Bianco makes himself. Alledgedly the basil is also grown by Bianco for use at the pizzeria as well as Pane Bianco. The sauce I contemplated for some time. As far as I can tell, it is tomatos. Just tomatos. I couldn't find any other flavors in it, no bits of garlic, traces of basil or red pepper, just tomatos.
The bill came to $37 after tax and tip. It included a pint of beer ($3.75) and an iced tea ($1.50) as well as the antipasto ($11) and a pizza margherita ($10) with sausage ($3).
Thats a Wrap
As I left I received a brief "Thank You" from Mr Bianco. When it is said that Christopher Bianco lays a hand on every pizza, it is a gross understatement. I watched him toss out pie after pie. I didn't see a single other person touch the pizza before it entered the oven. There is no man in that kitchen, there exists only a pizza tossing machine with the model name "Bianco", programmed to make the best pizza you'll find outside of Italy.