Hubby and I were just in the mood for something different—we decided to give Napolese another try because it had been quite awhile. We also hadn’t been to the new downtown location and were interested to try it out. I like that this location takes reservations so you know you won’t have to wait. It was slightly annoying though that even with a reservation, when we walked in, and even though there were only two tables seated, the hostess tried to seat us right next to one of the other occupied tables and with the bus stand on the other side. I mean the whole place was empty at this point. (I still will never understand why restaurants do this). Anyhow, after asking for a different table, and standing there waiting while they figured out if it was possible (really?), we got seated and ordered some drinks. They also always bring you a great little bowl of mixed olives, which I love, because, well, I love olives—and these are great ones.
We started with the white bean cassoulet ($13) because hubby loves cassoulet. It was made with a lot of meat. Seriously, this was like an Italian pork dish with a few beans. There was pork shoulder, pancetta, duck confit and Smoking Goose sausage. We were kind of surprised at how few beans there really was, but you are certainly getting your money’s worth on the meat. It was cold outside and it was extremely hearty—a dish that is not my favorite kind of thing because it is just so over the top meaty. I would have loved a squeeze of lemon or something. There was some shaved parmesan that gave it a slightly salty taste which was good. They have improved the way they serve the bread on the side too, giving slightly larger pieces of the pizza dough with some cheese on it.
We also had the arugula salad with pear, shaved fennel, candied pecans, Gorgonzola and aged Sherry vinaigrette ($10). I sort of wish I would have had this to eat at the same time as the cassoulet, a little acid would have been nice. The salad was good, other than I have learned to always ask for extra dressing at Patachous. Not a biggie, but they are very light with dressing there. I just ask for extra when I order. The pears were ripe and gave a nice sweet contrast to the blue cheese and vinaigrette, although we fought over the 4-5 nuts. It was a big salad, and could have used a bit more of the nice sweet and salty nuts.
We ordered the BLT pizza ($13) for our main and it was by far the best thing of the evening. That’s good right? It’s a pizza place after all. We have had it before and enjoyed it but now—can you say, “Smoking Goose jowl bacon?” That stuff is amazing. Ok, it’s pretty decadent with its thick fat layer, and its slightly charred edges, man, it took this pizza to another place. Also, I love Taleggio, which is a stinkier soft cheese. The leeks gave the whole thing some texture, although I am still not sure about caramelized as the proper descriptor. A really good pizza overall with a perfect, chewy, tasty crust.
This experience was pretty typical of our Napolese experiences—the pizza is solid and the stuff we get before is often just okay. But to just go in for a salad and pizza and it’s a good option. And I like that there’s at least one of their locations that take reservations.
30 S. Meridian Street