Review: Pizzeoli in St. Louis
Pizzeoli Wood Fired Pizza Napoletana
1928 S. 12th St., St. Louis, 314.449.1111, pizzeoli.com
Walking into Pizzeoli, you’re met with the warm aroma of dough cooking in the adorable wood-fire oven and the warm greetings of chef-owner Scott Sandler. Lunch usually isn’t busy, which means service is prompt, and your pie arrives fast – baked at more than 800 degrees, it only takes a few minutes. Making vegan and vegetarian Neapolitan pizzas of this caliber requires a lot of practice and attention to detail. Fresh ingredients aren’t just a hook here, and soft, but not-too-soft dough is made daily and hand-stretched to order.
Layered with a cauliflower and carrot “cheese” sauce that has a pleasing orange hue, the pizza is topped with vegan Parmesan, mushrooms, grape tomatoes and vegan sausage, and seasoned with garlic, oregano, black pepper and olive oil. The taste was that of a refined Totino’s frozen pizza, and I mean that in the best possible way. It reminded me of comfy evenings on the couch.
The Funghi with red sauce
The Funghi features Pizzeoli’s house-made mozzarella accompanied by thyme, oregano and, of course, mushrooms. The subtly flavorful red sauce doesn’t feel the need to announce itself, but is there to work with the team. The fun selection of mushrooms like cremini, shiitake and yellow trumpet gave a satisfying texture made all the better by the crust. I’m normally a heathen who leaves a pile of tough crusts behind, but I found myself gobbling up every last crumb of these tender pies.
The New Yorker
The New Yorker lives up to its big city roots. Fontina, fontinella and Parmesan melt together atop the same tomato sauce, seasoned with garlic, oregano and olive oil. It’s the wood-fired brother to greasy, folded up street-vendor slices. Instead of dodging sad knock-off mascots in Times Square, you can enjoy a slice next to Pizzeoli’s cozy oven. Each chewy bite scratches a hard-to-reach pizza itch in St. Louis.
Pizzas are almost the only thing on the menu, but don’t overlook the lone house salad. Bright, fresh greens punctuated by grape tomatoes and Parmesan cheese are tossed with a light balsamic dressing. Perfect in its simplicity and execution, the timeless salad was a refreshing dish that went well with hot pizza.
This can end up being a spendy lunch once you throw in a Mexican Coke and a salad. The quality is worth it, but this isn’t the place to grab a cheap slice on the go (despite their willingness to box up pizzas).
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