Saturday, December 8, 2012

First Taste: Via Veneto, Norristown PA

After a comment on this blog in which the writer suggested we try the pizza at Via Veneto in Norristown, I asked some colleagues (who live nearby) if they had tried it.  None had, but one who drives by it daily had taken note that it is always crowded. Recently, she stopped in for a Sicilian pie and was thoughtful enough to bring me two leftover slices.
Click on any pic to see full size image

Eating leftover slices is hardly a fair or accurate way to review a pizza purveyor, so this first taste will be for sharing of impressions.  Here they are:
  • The pie was not properly cooked, or assembled, or both. You can tell by the shot of the entire pie as it came from the oven. The ghostly whiteness of the cheese and the raw green peppers indicate that the top is woefully undercooked.
  • The crust, on the other hand, was pretty good, especially at the edges. Part of the magic of the best square pies is the crispy bottom, the fluffy center, and the somewhat denser top  layer where the moisture from the sauce seeps in. That kind of balance is tough to preserve when eating the slices as leftovers, but the golden bottom was crisp and the center still had a nice doughy tenderness.
  • The sauce was good, slightly sweet, and judiciously applied.
  • The cheese was the major failing. There was about double the amount that would be used for a balanced pie, it was the blandest mozzarella, and even after the benefit of browning under the broiler, it had little flavor and almost no inclination to adhere to the crust. It was a floating blob; I never remove cheese from a pizza, but here I was tempted. This would have been much better as a tomato pie.
  • The peppers, as noted, seemed added as an afterthought.
  • The sausage, cut in thin discs like pepperoni, were a mild upgrade from the rabbit pellets used by some places, but it seemed like it came from a mass commercial supplier. It added little more than calories.
Top-notch crust

Bland, gloppy cheese overload

Undercooked on top
The crust and the sauce were both good enough that I can understand why Via Veneto has a loyal customer base, and it has enough promise that I'd like to go there and try it in person.  Let's call it worthy of investigation.

Via Veneto Pizza on Urbanspoon


  1. Glad to see you took my comment into consideration… But your first impression, an adulterated version of the classic should not sway your decision to check out this place in person. Go to the counter, ask for a corner slice of sicilian, well done if you prefer, and prepare to be amazed. No peppers, no sausage, to mar the flavors, just pure deliciousness. And finish it off with a water ice, I'm partial to the watermelon, mango, and rainbow..

  2. Really appreciate the tips! I don't want a good pie joint to go unrecognized. I do need to get there in person.