Pizzeria Bianco - Biggest culinary disappointment of my life
What happened? I have no idea. With all the accolades and hype, I even made a conscious effort to lower my expectations. After the ridiculous four hour wait, I was starving. This should if anything have given the pizza an advantage. Everything looked right: the vibe, brick oven, and service all suggested a great meal. We ordered the wiseguy, margherita, and biancoverde. Sitting there watching the pizza maker, I was wondering why he would never clear the ash from the oven. Now I only noticed this b/c I had been seated in front of the oven at pizzeria mozza a couple of weeks ago and had seen them clear the oven every 15-20 minutes of the ash. Oh well, I assumed they knew better than me. After the first bite, all I could taste was ash. Ash and more ash just pervaded the slice. Don't get me wrong I love the taste of char my pizzas. But this was different, it was a nasty burnt flavor in each and every bite. And it was the same for all three pizzas. But this wasn't the only problem with the pie. The most important part of a pizza for me is the crust. But Bianco's crust was just not that interesting, neither in texture or flavor. The center of the crust was limp and soggy after 5 minutes. The toppings were also subpar and unbalanced: Fennel sausage lacked the punch that I'm accustomed to from homemade sausage. The margherita had too little basil, while the biancoverde had way too much argula to the point where the bitterness overwhelmed all the great ricotta and other cheeses. Without the ash issue, I could see this being decent pizza, but definitely not deserving of a journey or a 4 hour wait. This pizza is not in the realm of Nancy Silverton's pizza at Mozza nor in the universe of Dom's pizza at Di Fara's.
Just curious but was it a hispanic gentleman or a slim caucasian on the oven that night? We've been there twice now since the owner has taken a leave and experience two different types of crust when we went. On one night the pizza was good made by the hispanic guy and the second visit (slim dude) it was soggy, undercooked and tasted like ash as you described. I still believe the ingredients are top notch and the wait not so bad both times we went 1.5 hrs at 8:30 both on wed.
Sorry to read such a grim but ostensibly honestly rendered report. I haven't been in in a long time -- the wait is too much -- so I can't echo this review. The pizzas I ate when it was in T&C back in 1995 were better than after the move downtown, but then who can say? Who can prove it one way or the other -- I can't -- and who cares?
Nothing lasts forever, especially the perpetual achievement of excellence. It can't be done. We are, after all, human. Not that it matters, but my latest run to Pane Bianco was disappointing. I still get in there about once a month, maybe 15 times a year. I love all the sandwiches including the specials but my latest -- the tuna number, a favorite -- was skimpy and ordinary. When the bar is set so high it's inevitable the mark will be missed.
They had a good run. Let's enjoy them for what they are and cease the bickering over some ephemeral exalted status that was earned at one time but may not be sustainable every day, every night, year after year.