Stone Hearth Pizza, Belmont 7/08
It's likely that this place has been extensively reported on CH. We finally ate there last night and we were really pleased. I do feel that any CH pizza discussion must begin with declaration of former/present allegiances. After 30 years of eating pizzas in new england, and going to all the 'famous and fabled', I am a confirmed Pizzeria Regina(PR), North End ONLY,fan. I lived In Rome in high school and PR pizza tastes like it did in rome. To me. Aside from ingredients and preparation, their excellence has been attributed to their WWII era oven, which has gathered a considerable amount of seasoning in its decades of work.
PR No.End is not open Sunday night so we tried Stone Hearth(SH) in Belmont Center, (next to TCBY.) The biggest single difference between the 2 venues- was the crust. When you take PR leftovers, the cardboard box has significant grease marks. The SH has none.Maybe PR lays down some olive oil before the sauce and toppings? SH defiitely does not. This crust difference makes for a flat bread- appearing crust that tastes clean, like the grilled and greaseless A1 pizza in Harvard Square.You can order whole wheat or white crusts. Both are thin, blistered, and charred at the edges.(we asked for well done.)The SH crust edges are thin and crunchy; PR's are thick and not crunchy. We tried 4 kinds of pizza:
The Bean: garlic oil, white bean, caramelized red onions, fresh mozarella, topped w/ spinach pesto salad. we added roasted peppers and wh wheat crust. Neat textural interplay and robust flavors. This was the only one of ours w/o toma. sauce.
Chicken pesto: We substituted roasted pepper for the chevre.this was the only pizza that looked leaden and lifeless. nothing special flavor wise. bell and evans chicken didn't elevate it for me. the problem w/ chicken on both PR and SH pies - is that the already cooked chicken that's put on the pies- becomes dry/overcooked when the pizza gets cooked.
Margherita w/ anchovies: tomato sauce was too skimpy ; needed more sauce to counter the saltiness of the anchovies. they brought me a requested side of sauce and it surprised me that it was literally only pureed plum tomatoes.Surprisingly, the ‘fresh mozarella’ did not make a flavor impression on me.The basil was missing.PR version is much better.
Homemade Sausage, Caramelized Onion, Roasted Peppers, cheese; our added mushrooms and pesto:
This was the Stunner. We'll happily dirve the 1/2 hour just for this one. The sausage has a real cayenne kick to it; plenty of toppings ;the balance of ingredients is perfect.
One caveat. Maybe it was because it was an hour before closing on a Sunday night, but 3 out of our 4 pizzas had mistakes(ingredients left out, put on wrong pies, not 'well done.')
The small blond waitress, while pleasant,was mentally somewhere else. She would put down the pizza and disappear, so it took awhile to get things fixed.
BTW, SH makes 'seasonal' and local sourcing a big part of their modus operandi. We'll definitely be back for that sausage pizza. hmmmmm, maybe tonight.....!!
Want to update this 2.5 yr old review. We have become confirmed Stone Hearth fans and , after our first visit, above, mistakes are no longer part of our experience there. We order regularly, both w/ well done whole wheat crust :
** sausage, caramelized onion etc and
** The Bean: to which we add tomato sauce, chevre and bacon.
Edwin is our fav of their chefs; we are lucky to have schedule flexibility such that we plan visits for when he is there. Aside from the food, which always comes first, it makes us feel particularly happy to know that the owners and managers are good people who really care about making a positive environmental difference through their purchasing, producing and packaging practices. They are all very involved with day to day operations as well. The Belmont manager, Ellen, is a real gem of a neighborhood beacon and it's great to see her take care of everyone, guests and staff alike. Can't speak for any of their other locations, but we feel really lucky to have this one relatively nearby. It is on our go-to list along with Gargoyles, EVOO, Fuloon, La Verdad Taqueria, Sushi Island, Udipi Bhavan, and Kebab Factory (lunch buffet). While the Belmont Stone Hearth Pizza certainly doesn't lack for a solid client base (don't try to go on a Sat. nite) i hope you'll try it and like it.
350 Third Street, Cambridge, MA 02143
The Kebab Factory
414 Washington St, Somerville, MA 02143
1 Lansdowne St, Boston, MA 02215
Stone Hearth Pizza
57 Leonard St, Belmont, MA 02478
Thanks for reminding me! My $30 discount certificate (purchased for $15) expires in about 10 days, going for the Sausage, Red Pepper and Caramelized Onion Pizza tonight and whatever else we can think of to get to the $30 certificate!
122 White St, Haverhill, MA 01830
Don't hate me if I'm wrong - but I think there is one coming to Brighton also. I shop at the Star Market on Western Ave a lot. Don't remember the name of the cross street but at the second light after the Harvard Business School - if you're going towards Watertown - there's a building that's been empty for years. It's under construction now and wrapped in plastic but I swear there was a "Stone House Pizza Coming Soon!" sign a couple weeks ago.
That's the intersection of North Harvard and Western Ave in Allston, aka Barry's Corner. (Who Barry was, I have no idea.) The fact that Stone Hearth was finally able to get permission to open there was a huge victory over the NIMBYlicious Allston Civic Association, which for months argued with a straight face that it would be better for that corner to remain vacant and empty than allow a local business to provide a service to the neighborhood. They claimed it was because they feared college students were going to get ripped on cheap beer there (highly unlikely, especially given the fact that Allston's drunk college kids get that way mostly at unregulated basement parties), but it really was mostly about the ACA's long-running feud with Harvard, which owns the land the pizzeria sits on.
A block down Western from that, there's going to be a new retail shop for SwissBakers, home of the killer pretzel rolls. I'm really glad to finally be seeing some development around that corner, which has been dying ever since WGBH pulled up stakes for Brighton.
Hey oc, do you ever get the pizza as takeout? If so, how does it hold up? I really like their pizza, but would probably get it to go and heat up my pizza stone.
Even the plain cheese is delicious because they use cheese with a tang. Maybe some asiago? My veggie son loves that white bean spread pizza with arugula salad.