” It seems to defy our perception of food, when a pizza dough, having only three visible ingredients, can have the depth of favor, the chew, and the and overall satisfaction of a slice of pizza you may have if you visit Rome’s Campo De Fiore… That thing you are tasting that sets it apart, is not the particular brand of organic flour, or the very specific Sicilian Sea Salt chosen for the recipe, but a more etherial ingredient, that cannot be simply found on the grocery store shelf. It’s time. ” – Michael Easton (co-owner)
Pizzeria Gabbiano opened its doors in August of 2014 and it was an immediate sensation. It’s a little spot, with about 36 seats snuggled up next to a wall of sun-bathed windows, tucked into the side of a building on Main Street (contrary to the street address). Their menu changes daily and there are always plenty of vegetarian options available. Seasonal ingredients top the list of specials. Today we had a caramelized onion and fennel pizza, an onion, leek and shallot pizza, and a pecorino, delicata squash pizza with mama lil peppers, sage, walnuts and chèvre. Every combination you try seems, impossibly, to be better than the last.
I have to say that these people really got it right. For me it starts with the dough, and these bakers really know how to make good dough…
“It has a slight tang from a natural fermentation taking place over several days, a sweetness from the starches in the flour slowly breaking down to become natural sugars, and a tender chewiness that can only come from taking the time to mix and knead the dough by hand.” – Michael Easton
…and that’s not an understatement. The dough tastes almost like really good focaccia. It really is “thick, billowy, fluffy, bubbly…CRUST” When I hold it in my hand it and take a large satisfying bite I can’t help but just want to keep eating more until my belly can’t hold another slice.
But let’s not discount the toppings. “Now caramelize those sugars in a 650 degree oven, letting the bright acidity of the tomato embrace the milky richness of the hand made mozzarella, and you have in many peoples’ opinion…some of the best pizza in the world.” You can taste the freshness and seasonality of the ever creative array of toppings. The cooks must have really taken their time because when they say the béchamel, simmered with roasted garlic reduced for hours, you can literally taste the time it took to create the perfect sauce.
In Rome, this type of Pizza, is called “Pizze Taglia,” or cut pizza, and it’s not that often found in the US. You order by the kilo and the pizza is cut by hand with scissors (not pre-sliced). There is also a selection of seasonal antipasti or salads as well, and while tasty in my opinion, they are not the main attraction.
Gabbiano is only open weekdays for lunch, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. So if you live in the area (or are visiting from out of town) it’s defiantly worth stopping in. Personally, just writing this post makes me hungry for more and I can’t wait to go back!