Saturday, July 27, 2013

Review: Via Veneto, East Norriton, PA

Not long ago, I was able to sample a few slices of Sicilian pie from Via Veneto in Norristown, thanks to a colleague who shared some leftovers. I found a nice crust and promising sauce that left me wanting to know more, despite some flaws (full review HERE).  It appears that Via Veneto has relocated from Norristown to nearby East Norriton (which always looks like a typo to me).
Before the re-heat

The staff at my wife's office nearby often has pizza for lunch, and one day she brought home 5/8 of a pie. This was not a Sicilian, but a conventional round pie (and very ordinary-appearing crust) topped with a deep red sauce, big islands of white fresh mozzarella, and leaves of basil. It looked like an attempt at Neapolitan, even if the crust was more "New York" style than the leopard spotted puffy texture of an authentic Neapolitan pie.
Click any picture to see larger, full detail version

Because the crust looked so pedestrian, I was not optimistic about this pie. Before the re-heat, I removed the basil leaves so that I didn't end up with burned basil. I added pepperoni to much of it, but left some without so that I could taste it more as the pizzaiolo had crafted it.
After the re-heat, with pepperoni added

I pre-heated my oven to 425 and baked it for about 9 minutes on a perforated pizza pan.  I'm pretty sure that these slices with this proper re-heat were better in most ways than when it first came from the oven, because the bottom of the crust took on a lovely crisp, even as the upper portions remained chewy and bendable (definitely a New York slice). The cheese got some lovely browning/caramelization, too. And the addition of the pepperoni gave it an extra measure of salty/savory essence that so reliably comes as the payload of cured meats.

The crust, despite its nice texture, had no distinct flavor and was pretty tasteless at the cornicione. The red sauce had much of the rich taste that its color promised, and I even found some big tomato chunks mixed in. The cheese was tasty enough, especially with some top browning, but came off in disconcertingly huge chunks with even small bites. Conventional mozz would have been better. 
Not a whole lot of character to the crust

It's nice that a mom-and-pop shop would attempt a Neapolitan pie, but you cannot hide a dull crust by the use of creative toppings.  The crust gets a 5 (and would have been lower absent the re-heat), the sauce earns a 7, the cheese a 4, the fresh basil earns a little extra credit. Overall, this pie is a 5.5. Tasty and filling, but pales in comparison to nearby Franzone's (review HERE).




Via Veneto Pizza on Urbanspoon

7 comments:

  1. BeauneHead in BalaAugust 2, 2013 at 5:00 PM

    Last night I was in the Norristown/Plymouth Meeting area with my sons and we wanted some pie. After reading this review and seeing the picture at the beginning of it...we quickly decided to go to DiMeo's on Ridge Avenue , just inside the Philadelphia limits from Plymouth Meeting. I have been there several times. Though I am not a big fan of "Neapolitan" style pizza, this place, to me, is as good as that style gets...anywhere. They even use water from Italy. The place was packed and we had to wait, as seems to be the norm from reading Yelp. It also has terrific salads and apps...and what looked like terrific pasta and seafood dishes going by. You really have to visit this place to see what you think..and complete your tour of Philadelphia's best.

    Let us see what you think of DiMeo's....

    BeauneHead

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  2. Pretty amazing; just ten years ago, Philly area pizza worth eating began with Tacconelli's.... and ended there. Osteria and Stella got the Neapolitan ball rolling, and now we have old-school tomato pie like Gennaro's too. I finally got to Pizza Brain yesterday (review coming) and now DiMeo's is going on my list, and thanks for the tip! BTW if you want to do a guest review with pics of this place or any other, I'd be glad to publish it here.

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  3. I'd be happy to go with you sometime...but.....writing reviews is....a lot of responsibility. Too much for me...I can't even persuade my family sometimes...on this subject. One son loves DiFara (I don't); I love Modern (my wife doesn't)...but at least we all agree re: Delorenzo's (though my wife thinks Sam's place in Robbinsville is not as good as Hudson St. was; I think it's close enough.) At least they all like my own creations...in the Delorenzo..mold.

    I think DeMeo, by the way....preceded Stella....and is run by Italians from Naples area, not Steven Starr trainees.

    Look forward to your Pizza Brain review...though the place is fascinating....I 'm on the fence whether the pizza is destination worthy. It was certainly good.

    beaunehead50@gmail.com

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    1. So many pizzas, so little time! Good problem to have. Spoiler: I loved Pizza Brain. He is NAILING what so many places pretend to have -- the essential New York Slice.

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  4. I still continue to feel that you have not truly experienced a freshly made sicilian corner piece, which is really the star of vio's. Dimeo's is awesome for classic Neapolitan, however, Via Veneto's is the place for great sicilian. Never been a big fan of their regular pizza, but something magical happens when they make their signature. Also… they are renovating the original space on Markley Street in Norristown; why I don't know: there was a sense of no-frills nostalgia with the old space, but so long as their sicilian tastes the same, either location is my go-to.

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    1. Sold -- I promise to visit Via Veneto and try the Sicilian. Thanks for the advice! Can't say that I will get there right away, but I will get there.

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  5. For Via Veneto, you can't beat their sicilian slice- just sauce and cheese. Their White Pizza with Ricotta is also amazing.

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