Determining the “personality” of a pizza restaurant can be both intruiging and frustrating. Siciliano’s Gourmet Pizza and Eatery, on James Street in Eastwood, has puzzled me for some time. I first noticed it about 18 months ago, and was interested to find out what their vision of “gourmet” pizza was. The bright neon sign promised “Pizza by the slice,” but over the next several months I could not manage to get any. Numerous times the door was locked (even though the posted hours indicated it should be open), and I recall more than one instance when it was open but no slices were available. The attendant behind the counter could not explain why the neon “slice” sign was still on (lately it has been off).
Another time I stopped to ask about slices, and again they were not available. I asked for a menu, started looking it over, and the counter person said, “Oh wait, that is the hotel menu.” I wasn’t ready to buy a whole pie that day anyway, so I delayed again. Also during the past 18 months, the restaurant interior was remodeled. I would have to say it still isn’t very inviting (just few plain tables and chairs), and I’ve never seen anyone eating there. For that matter, I’ve seldom seen a customer at the counter. Their delivery car is often seen around Eastwood, so I’ll guess that delivery must be their primary modus operandi.
Finally, on a recent Saturday, I stopped in to pick up a fresh pizza. I noted a young skateboarder using a computer at one of the tables, and a person behind the counter was also using a computer. A third person emerged from the back to take my order. Looking at the menu, I didn’t see anything that qualified as a “gourmet” pizza, just the usual selection of meat lovers, deluxe, chicken wing, etc. I spotted a special for two medium pizzas, two toppings, $5.95 each. He said, “You have to add a dollar.” I didn’t understand at first, but finally figured out that the printed menu was out of date and I had to add a dollar to the price for each pizza! Alrighty then. I ordered one with just cheese, and the other with tomato, mushroom, peppers and onions. “It will be ready in 15 minutes, if you’d like to wait outside we’ll come get you.”
Around 10 minutes later, the person who took my order left to make a delivery. After 17 minutes, nobody had come out to get me, so I went in. After standing at the counter for a moment, the skateboarder on the computer said loudly, “Yo, pizza!” and the person behind the counter jumped up from the computer to get my pizza out of the oven. I’ve pondered, but will never know how long the pizza would have baked otherwise.
Upon opening the boxes at home, I was startled to find a big hole in the cheese pizza. I’m guessing a thin spot in the crust allowed sauce to leak through, causing it to stick to the oven bottom. A great deal of coarse semolina flour dusted the bottom of the crust, which was generally 1/4″ thick with a crispy layer on the bottom. At the edge, a “poofy” 1″ thick rim. Diameter was 13″ to 14″. The taste of the crust was unremarkable, neither really good or really bad.
The sauce was reasonably good, dominated by salty and acidic notes, with mild tomato taste and a moderate spice load. Cheese was a little sparse, tasted mild and wasn’t oily, but on the cheese pizza it was very orange from the sauce boiling up through it. Toppings were generally ordinary, with the tomatoes being the best part. Peppers and onions were in very short supply and hard to find. Rubbery canned mushrooms were abundant.
Overall, this pizza was generally average. Aside from the hole in the crust, there was nothing particularly bad about it. On the other hand, nothing that made your tastebuds sit up and take notice, nothing that would make you want to return, nothing that would make you recommend it to a friend. And of all the places I’ve reviewed, Siciliano’s has just about the least grasp of customer service and “curb appeal” that I can recall. The Pizza Geek rates Siciliano’s Gourmet Pizza & Eatery 2.5 out of 5 slices.
Summary – Pros: generally acceptable sauce. Cons: clueless customer service.
What do YOU think? Have you tried pizza from Siciliano’s? Please leave a comment.
Service: no stars