Thursday, December 11, 2014

Pizza Vinoteca Preview Party Recap

There's no shortage of pizza joints in Ballston; but there's always room for someplace classier and swankier than the rest. Enter Pizza Vinoteca, a Neapolitan/New York hybrid with a 900° oven (that's hotter than Venus) and almost 40 different vintages of wine (each one priced at less than a tenner per glass.) Toss it all together, and spread it out across 4,500 square feet of utter coolness, and it's easy to get excited over "the new kid in town."

Excited doesn't begin to cover the "scene" at last night's media preview party. Picture close to 500 foodies (over the course of two hours) angling over a myriad of 13"x5" oblong pies with exotic ingredients. How exotic? Try TARTE FLAMBEE (bacon, crème fraîche and onions) or JOWLCIALE (fontina, honey, pistachios and spicy chili pesto.) Me? I can't wait to try NDUJA MEATBALL with kale pesto! Sadly, I couldn't stay long enough (these theater reviews are gonna kill me) to sample them myself; but I'll be back next week, which should allow the friendly staff a few days to work out any kinks after tonight's official opening.

Attention to detail

In terms of appearance, Pizza Vinoteca could easily vault to the top of the charts (at least in Ballston) from day one. It's huge, yes; and has glorious window views of busy North Glebe Road. But I prefer the views of the kitchen... where the magic happens. Best of all, it's done in plain view of the dining room. No tossing pizza dough here: This is real entertainment, the kind you can eat later. The red lacquered walls are a little imposing (even for me) but this takes choosing ingredients at your local Subway franchise to a whole nother level.

There's plenty of seating throughout; but it's hard to take your eyes off the circular bar in the middle of the room. It seats 30, looks über-stylish and features a gas-powered wine dispenser (no more wasted bottles.) They even sell bombolones (authentic Italian doughnuts) for two bucks a pop. Next week can't come soon enough. Pizza Vinoteca opens this evening at 5, and closes at 11. Later this month, those hours will extend to 11:30 AM - 10 PM (Mondays) 11:30 AM - 11 PM (Tuesday-Friday) 11 AM - 11 PM on Saturdays, and 11 AM - 10 PM on Sundays. Can brunch be far behind? Let's hope so.