Peel & Press is serious about pizza.
Not in that skimpy, minimalist way that’s become too common around the city, but in the lay-it-on-thick way that anyone who’s from the East Coast will appreciate.
We arrived on a busy Friday night and worked up an appetite watching pizza emerge from the kitchen, rich with sauce and cheese and thick with toppings.
When ours arrived, it was covered with ribbons of peppers and enough sausage to make a light meal of one slice. Best of all, the stone-baked crust was thin yet chewy, a nice change from the crackerlike crusts pulled from wood-fired ovens around the city.
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Peel & Press is more than a reincarnation of Abbondanza, the Italian restaurant/pizzeria that previously occupied the space.
Despite the somber décor, the place thrums with a happy, friendly vibe.
The menu: Starters include bruschetta ($6.95), house salad ($4.95), Caesar salad ($7.95), antipasto and caprese salad ($9.95 each). Pasta dishes include the rich and creamy pasticciata, a tasty combination of linguine tossed with Bolognese sauce, cream, mozzarella and ricotta ($14.95); pasta carbonara ($13.95); fettuccine Alfredo ($12.95); Bolognese and puttanesca (both $12.95).
Pizzas, ranging from $13.95 for a small basic cheese to $19.95 for large pies, include ham and pineapple; portobello mushrooms, eggplant and goat cheese; and mozzarella, black olives, capers and artichoke hearts.
Salads are large enough to split.
What to write home about: The exceptionally friendly service, the pasticciata pasta and the pizza, of course.
The setting: The “industrial/rustic” décor makes for a dark space with dim lighting and a mostly monochromatic, slate-gray color palate. Seating for about 50 people in various combinations of booths, two- and four-tops, and bar and window seats.
Summing up: A large sausage and pepper pizza ($19.95), a plate of pasticciata, a Caesar salad and a Diet Coke came to $45.35 before tax and tip.
Susan Kelleher: firstname.lastname@example.org