A friend of mine from out west told me about a great pizza place in Santa Rosa, CA. "You have to go to this place for pizza when you come out here. It's called Rosso." A very smart man, even though he also said they put corn meal on the bottom of the crust, which is simply not the case. But that's a subject for another argument.
A week later I was sitting at the bar at Rosso, as giddy as a school girl. This place is just my style, and something that we could use 'round these parts here in New Jersey.
First up was an heirloom tomato gazpacho. A better soup you will not find. Forget it. I just don't know what to say about this soup. It was perfect. If eating gazpacho is like eating a bowl of garden, then this was like eating a bowl of exceptional garden.
As for the pizza, or, pizze, as those Italians say, we ordered a Margherita, to test the baseline. The pizza was wonderful. A chewy crust with well-developed flavor (I'm guessing a slow, cold rise). Fresh house-made mozzarella, local tomatoes, local olive oil, and (no doubt local) basil. Nice leoparding on the crust (and no, no cornmeal). Oh man, this was good stuff. Right up there with Ridgewood, New Jersey's A Mano in its prime (I'm afraid A Mano is no longer producing pizza at the same level it was when Roberto was there).
Note the basket of fresh limes in the background. They do it right here.
Next up was the Funghi, with the addition of a (local, organic) egg on top (which pretty much makes everything better). Crimini, shitake, artichoke, thyme, taleggio, fontina, and that egg. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. With the memory of this pizza fresh in my mind, I've started putting fresh thyme on just about every pizza I make.
Nice oven spring
And don't bother mixing and matching toppings and hoping for a "half pepperoni half artichoke." They won't indulge your whims (except for that egg and a few other add-ons). They are serving you what they feel is best, and you should be thankful they put so much thought into it.
I could have eaten through the entire menu, what with its housemade burrata, meats, antipasti, and salads. But, I had to save room for some other things, including BLTs from Carneros Bistro (pork belly, heirloom tomato, arugula). Oh, do go there and eat their pork belly.
Go to Rosso. Eat pizza.
Rosso PIzzeria + Wine Bar : Creekside Center : 53 Montgomery Drive : Santa Rosa : CA : 707.544.3221