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pizza rockLas Vegas. The city of faux weddings, faux Elvis,  faux France, and faux pas. Where the inauthentic is genuine and the real a façade. What are the chances of finding anything legit, with integrity, in that cauldron of fakery?

Since returning from Naples a few years ago I’ve been on a quest to discover real Neapolitan Pizza in the U.S. Slow rising 00 dough, immersed for about 90 seconds in a wood-fired inferno, it comes out with a blistered bottom, charmingly-charred cornicione, a thin, chewy/crisp but yielding crust topped with creamy bufala mozzarella, a few tomatoes, evo, salt, and fresh basil—tutto va bene. There is nothing like it. No other pizza quite satisfies once you’ve had one.

I haven’t had one since Naples. I’ve had lots of pretenders. Lots of people claim to make it. But there is always something off—too much cheese, too many toppings, a soggy crust.

Thankfully my Las Vegas friends, Tori and Ruben, know their way around town. In the midst of all that ostentatious pretense we find the the real thing—Pizza Rock.

The proprietor, Tony Gemignani, entered the 2007 World Cup Pizza contest in Naples and and won—legend has it he is now forbidden to compete .

I had the Mastunicola, traditional toppings of basil, lard, bufala mozzarella, olive oil and sea salt. (The thin shavings of lard were delicious). If you’re not a fan of Napoletana they have other pizza styles, but why would you go there.

It’s downtown, off the strip, near the intriguing Fremont St. which is fast becoming the hip place to be in Vegas. There is a branch in Sacramento as well.

If you’re a fan of pizza this is a “must do”.

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