Sometimes it’s a stretch for me to leave my New York-style pizza comfort zone to try a Neapolitan style pie, even when I know it’s gonna be good. While nothing could take the place of a nice crisp folded NY slice, the Snob has happened upon a few tasty Neapolitan pies.
My first experience with this type of pizza, the way it was originally designed in Italy, was at the Porta Via Italian Kitchen in Bellevue. I paid them a visit after reading in the local paper that they became the first in the state of Tennessee to be certified as original by the Vera Pizza Napoletana (VPN). This was a proud accomplishment that was judged on both the standards of their process and the ingredients they use.
Since then, PV has opened a second area location in Cool Springs. Close to my ‘hood, it has become a favorite Italian restaurant for Mrs. Pie and me. As previously stated, I generally stay away from Neapolitan pie and usually have one of their other fine dishes instead. And Mrs. Pie, who could easily call herself “The Gelato Snob,” considers their homemade fare to be the best in town.
On a whim, probably because we’d soon be going to Italy, we decided to have a Porta Via pie. Being only a 12 incher (in accordance with standards) it makes for an excellent appetizer. We went for the certified Margherita which is in the Snob style of not putting anything unnecessary on your pizza. It’s a little pricey at $14, but when you read the ingredients, especially the Buffalo Mozzarella, you kind of feel like you are getting your money’s worth.
Pizza doesn’t take long to cook in a 900 degree oven so we had our pretty-looking appetizer in a flash. Surprisingly, they cut it into four slices despite the menu saying they’d do it on request. We didn’t ask, but maybe it was because I still look like a New Yorker.
Getting right to the point, PV’s pie tastes absolutely delicious. It’s your usual Neapolitan specimen: thinly sauced, botched cheese and sprinkled basil leaves. There were also a few sliced cherry tomatoes that while tasty, made things a little watery on top. That’s in addition to the usual slushiness you get in one of these pies from the oil and sauce flowing to the center. On the bottom, the crust was a heavy experience (charred without any crispness), but was delightfully chewy and yummy.
I’m sure most who come here load their pie from the wide variety of toppings available. However, if you stick to the basics like I did, you will come pretty darn close to finding that perfect pizza taste. Fresh fine ingredients cooked this well taste sublime.
Far from my pizza comfort zone, nonetheless, Porta Via make a Neapolitan pizza well worth tasting. It’s the best in these parts for sure and PV is a great restaurant to boot!
PIZZA SNOB RATING **** 1/2 Nearer Perfection
Porta Via Italian Kitchen
3301 Aspen Grove Drive
Cool Springs Franklin, TN 37067