Five50 Pizza Bar
Pepperoni Arancini- Rice Balls, Red Sauce and Roasted Garlic Aioli
Pigs and Truffles- Pork Shoulder Cannelloni, Bordeaux Spinach, Bechamel and Summer Truffles
North Beach- Clams, Smoked Mozzarella, Sweet Onions, Oregano
Blanca- Mozzarella, Ricotta, Bel Paese, White Chedder, Olive Oil, Garlic, Basil
Truffle- Truffle Salami, Bechamel, Parmesan, Thyme, Shaved Truffles
Margherita- Tomato, Buffalo Mozzarella and Basil
Warm Apple Pie – White Cheddar, Oatmeal Streusel, Smoke Salted Mascarpone Ice Cream
Crispy Sourdough Fritters – Winter Spiced Cranberry Sauce, Orange Glaze
A fan of Shawn McClain dating to his Chicago days and a truly impressive experience at Sage it was with high hopes that our party of four paid a visit to upscale pizza parlor Five50 after the disaster that was Yellowtail and while I personally enjoyed the experience more than my companions it would be exceedingly difficult for me to recommend a $30/pp pizzeria with awkward service as a place to visit in a city where far better pie can be found off-strip at a fraction of the price. Featuring a slice counter plus a handful of primi, pasta, salads, and desserts alongside 16″ pizzas cooked in a 550 degree oven the “style” of McClain’s signature pies falls somewhere between traditional New York slices and a Roman lightly-leavened ‘crunchy’ crust but with ingredient quality meeting the standards set by Sage the results were largely impressive save for the excessive use of oil and salt marring the Truffle and an unannounced red sauce lending a peculiar barbecue note to the North Beach. Faring better, a simple Margherita assuredly displayed the restaurant’s sourcing with tangy tomatoes and fresh basil while the Blanca shined largely to a thick dollop of house-made ricotta on each slice. Moving past pizza, a sampling of the cannelloni proved to be my favorite savory of the day, albeit slightly overpriced at $18 for two pasta tubes stuffed with tender pork and topped with creamy Bechamel plus meager truffle shavings while a trio of arancini presented a unique riff on a classic by substituting house cured pepperoni for traditional sausage and pairing it with thick, aromatic aioli. Never happy to leave a restaurant without dessert, a final pairing arrived at the table in the form of a small apple pie with accoutrements both sweet and savory alongside fried brioche cubes paired with sour cranberry sauce; both sweets trumping any of the savories and a saving grace at the end of a meal that fell short of high expectations.
…expectations fortunately met by an impromptu stop at Mastro’s Ocean Club for a Butter Cake to go, the chilled version served with nearly a pound of whipped cream plus ice cream, berries, and raspberry reduction nearly as good as when it is baked to order in the restaurant…and shockingly NOT my idea.