OK, so I get it. Neapolitan style is the traditional way pizza is made in Italy, and the pies are baked in wood burning ovens using the finest imported ingredients. That doesn’t mean I have to like it.
DeSano Pizza & Bakery arrived in Nashville a few years ago to much fanfare. (They also have locations in Charleston and Los Angeles.) Hearing that they served Neapolitan (my least favorite type of pizza, just below frozen) gave me zero interest in going there. Despite encouragement from those who had been, I didn’t even care to know where the place was.
Recently, I had to drop off an eBay item to someone working just off Music Row. While looking for a parking spot, I chanced upon DeSano’s behind the tall office building near the stupid looking statues in the Music Square Circle. Hungry with some time to kill, I thought I would give it a try. What did I have to lose other than a few bucks for a pie I may not like?
DeSano’s occupies a single story building set to the rear of its small parking lot which happened to be full. I found an empty meter on the street close by. I chuckled at the display of their hours: “11:30 a.m. until the dough runs out.” That comment was as cool as their spectacular layout: a small entry room on the left where you order and pay and a casual dining area off to the right. The spacious seating area full of family style picnic tables in full view of three giant wood-burning pizza ovens named after Italian cities. The large menu on the wall offered a selection of traditional and specialty pies. Their only other items are Calzones, salads and desserts. Both beer and wine are available. They advertise take-away.
I ordered a small Margherita pie for $12, took my number (a pizzeria first for the Snob), and grabbed a seat at an empty table where I witnessed the family-friendly appeal of the place. At this hour there seemed to be a lot of children there enjoying the experience of seeing their pizza prepared in the open room. My number was soon up, and my pie came quickly. Cut into eight small slices, it came served on a silver cafeteria-style tray.
The pizza was similar to one that I recently had at Bella Nashville Pizzeria over in the Farmers’ Market. Given that I’m a New York-style pizza guy, and that Neapolitan just isn’t my thing, I do have to say that DeSano’s serves a pizza that is fresh with good quality ingredients. Overall it is a tasty dish, and I enjoyed the fresh flavor of both the Mozzarella and the tomato sauce. I didn’t touch the four big basil leaves on top since they looked to be more for show than for my stomach. There wasn’t much oil to detect which was a good thing. Over-oiling a Neapolitan can make it nothing more than a container for a soupy mess of tomato sauce. Unfortunately, the pie was limp and not chewy. This lifeless crust is what I find so unappealing about this kind of pizza.
I’m sure these pies taste better when they are loaded with a bunch of wild toppings which just isn’t for me. Maybe that’s why I should just stick to eating at New York-style pizza joints. But living in Nashville, I just had to give this DeSano’s a try. I can now consider that done, and whenever I feel like a diversion for something different, I’ll visit Brooklyn for a zesty coal oven Margherita pie.
PIZZA SNOB RATING ***1/2 Working on a Good Thing
DeSano Pizza & Bakery
115 16th Avenue S. Nashville, TN 37203