Thursday, July 30, 2015

Buco Pizzeria + Vino


Buco Pizzeria + Vino is the newest member of the Sorrentino's family. This casual yet trendy restaurant is located in St Albert and will be opening to the public this Saturday August 1. I attended a sneak peek on Sunday, and it was a great experience true to its name, with good pizza and good wine. Loved the prosecco! So light and crisp and bubbly.


The pizzaiolo (read pizza chef) hails all the way from Naples, Italy, and he makes the pizza in this fiery wood-burning oven. These are guaranteed to be authentic Neapolitan pizzas!


The first to make its debut was the margherita pizza, a signature Neapolitan pizza fashioned after the colours of the Italian flag. This is probably the pizza of choice for a true Neapolitan. I was sitting next to the owner's mother-in-law and she specifically requested a couple slices of margherita pizza for dinner.


I tried several different kinds of pizza that night, but my absolute favourite was the quattro-formaggi (below right), the four-cheese pizza. The cheeses were just so rich and aromatic, blended together in warm and gooey strings of satisfaction.


The assistant corporate chef kept busy shaving various cured meats and preparing bruschetta with the other staff. I tried the one topped with pancetta (Italian bacon), roma tomato, and basil. I'm not a fan of bruschetta, but I liked that the bread was not too greasy and I was pleasantly surprised that Italian bacon had a more delicate flavour and was not nearly as dry and intense as regular bacon.


Other appetizer choices include a variety of carne and formaggi (meat and cheese), as well as salads such as the buco chop salad below. It was a mix of romaine lettuce, cherry tomato, and chickpeas. The meats were tasty, but salads are not Buco's forte. When I visit next time, I don't think I'll be ordering any salads. Instead I'll focus on the pizza and antipasti.


Talking about antipasti, the cauliflower goat cheese fritters were something new to me. They were little balls of batter with cauliflower embedded inside, a tasty vegetarian alternative to fried meatballs.


I saved the best for last. The prosciutto wrapped figs were also new to me, and I have to say, the salted ham and sweet fig were the perfect pairing. This was so addictive that I wanted a whole plate to myself.


Although my visit was short, I could see that Buco conveyed a strong sense of family and hospitality. The founding family behind the Sorrentino's Group is obviously tight-knit, as pretty much the entire clan showed up to the event, from the grandmother to the grand-kids. The grandmother is a very sweet lady, and she introduced me to every single one of her family members who happened to pass by. And I could see that this sense of family extends to the staff as well. Most of the attendees that night were employees of Sorrentino's, and it was like a giant family reunion. I have no doubt that this hospitality would be extended to the customers as well. I look forward to visiting after the grand opening and trying some pasta and desserts which I missed out on this time.

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