I just roll my eyes when you ask a server what they recommend and they say, “Everything! It’s just so good!” in that mindless, chipper way. Umm, no. We weren’t asking if you recommended eating here. We’ve already decided to do that. We were asking which items you, server who has eaten most everything on the menu, prefers.
Anyhow, we didn’t pose that question to anyone at Adrienne’s Pizzabar in the Financial District. But we did sample nearly every section of the menu — an antipasti, a 10″ pizza and a pasta entree, baked in the pizza oven — and it was all damn delicious.
The mixed antipasti misto ($16, small): A bounty of fresh vegetables, roasted and served virtually naked, with just a touch of olive oil, salt, pepper and the occasional spice. The flavor of the vegetables shined. Plus, several toasts topped with bruschetta; a lentil and a white bean salad; thin-shaved slices of salumi and prosciutto; cubes of cheese, a basket of rolls and olive oil and vinegar for dipping. This antipasti, with a glass of wine or two on the picnic tables out back, would be a light and lovely dinner in itself.
… And then the pizza came. We ordered the vesuviana pizza, topped with anchovies, olives, capers, spicy red peppers, basil ($15), and it was almost mouth-orgasmic. The way that the hot peppers played off the saltiness of the capers, anchovies and olives; the balance between cheese, homemade au natural tomato sauce, the soft, springy dough base — this truly unique pizza was the favorite among dishes that were all excellent.
The conchiglie imbottite, pasta shells stuffed with ricotta, spinach, marinara ($10): Baking the shells made the cheese bubble and crisp on top, while the ricotta inside stayed light, creamy and smooth; the tomato sauce puree was vibrant, fresh and simple, the dominant flavor tomatoes. (I like this kind of marinara sauce, which actually let the tomato shine through). This entree could easily be a meal in itself.
… While I can’t (yet) guarantee the excellence of whole menu, based on the excellence of this first experience, I am confident that more picks than not are bound to be a success. I am definitely going to be back for more.