Our No Meat May adventures continued with a visit to a place that we have intended to try for as long as I can remember (or at least since they opened) Pizzeria Grano Napoletano. Located on Main Street near 16th, street parking is obviously hit and miss but it's a nice place to walk if you have to park at a distance and it's only one bus from Main Street Station by transit.
Pizzeria Grano Napoletana - No Meat May
PGN follows the strict Napolitan guidelines that would qualify them for the international association based in Italy if it weren't for that Mozzarella cheese thing. It seems that the association doesn't have vegan sensibilities but the pizza served here still has the recognizable quality of the best Neapolitan pizza otherwise. We arrived just after noon on Saturday and were seated right away.
We decided to order a Ceasar Salad, as we were curious about how one would make a salad that typically has raw egg, cheese and a creamy dressing. Well, plus, we like Ceasar Salad! And it was everything that we had hoped for being crisp and refreshing! This led to a discussion about cashew cheese with our server who happens to be the manager of this place as well. I have been making cashew cheese at home and brewers yeast is a common ingredient but apparently, PGN uses garbanzo miso (which I had never heard of ) as one of their cheezy ingredients! Very creative with great results!
By now, you know my wife and her love of Hawaiin Pizza. While the Napoletana purists might roll over in their graves (or future graves) PGN does a very good job here with bacon crumbles (did not ask how they made them) which were salty and bacony, and some excellent melty Mozzarella style cashew cheese. The rest of the ingredients, tomato sauce, pineapple, onions and banana peppers are inherently vegan and don't need to be made from cashews but contributed to a delicious pie.
The second pizza we ordered (we took fully half of these 2 pizzas home with us as I always order too much food) was the Tartufo. This pie had a garlic puree base rather than tomato sauce which along with mushrooms and truffle pate, made for a meaty, earthy and rich affair, We also loved this and the car had that mellow mushroom pizza smell for the trip home.
PGN presented us with an opportunity to use our 2022 Plant Curious Deals Book with a coupon for a 3rd pizza free. We ordered a Boscaiola Pizza and took this one to go. The instructions to warm it up at home were perfect. Also, they packed the arugula separately to be placed after warming. The base of this pizza was vegan bechamel and came with plant-based sausage as well as Mozza and mushrooms. Another home run as again this was earthy, rich and cheesy.
We haven't even talked about the most important ingredient so far! The crust of these pizzas was spectacular. Just a bit of chew and those wonderful touches of char. The brick oven is the hallmark of great pizza as it provides extremely high heat and brief cooking time. The next time we get here, we will have to pester the boss with questions about this amazing cooker!
I could be content with one dessert for the rest of my life if it was Affogato. Hot expresso over Double Chocolate Gelato combines bitter and sweet and chocolate in a wonderful way!
This is a bright and cheery little place while being comfortable and chic. Our server/ manager cheerfully put up with my endless questions and even provided me with a little sample of the mysterious miso to take home. Pizzeria Grano Napoletano is part of the Via Tevere group (restaurant and food truck) where they use real Mozzarella if you have to have it. For us, for the time being, we are content with cashew, cruelty-free cheese.
Food 4 1/2 out of 5
Service 4 1/2 out of 5
Comfort 4 out of 5
Value 4 1/2 out of 5
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