Pizza Rock at Green Valley Ranch
SALTED KARAMEL DELIGHT – Stoli Salted Caramel Vodka, White Crème de Cocoa, Half & Half, Oreo Crumble Rim
HONEY CALABRESE SAUSAGE – Honey House Made Spicy Sausage Seared with Local Honey
COCCOLI – Sea Salted Fried Dough with Prosciutto and Burrata Cheese
ITALIAN CHOP SALAD – Hearts of Romaine, Salami, Sopressatta, Banana Peppers, Kalamata Olives, Peppadew Peppers, Artichoke Hearts, Feta, EVOO
FRIED “GREEN” TOMATO CAPRESE – Our Take on Fried Green Tomatoes with Brown Heirloom Tomatoes, Fresh Mozzarella, Fresh Basil and Sweety Drop Peppers
EGGPLANT PARMIGIANA – Breaded Eggplant, Mozzarella, Provolone, and Pecorino-Romano Served Over Buccatini Pomodoro, with Fresh Focaccia
MANHATTAN – Deep Fried Calzone – Mozzarella, Ricotta, Garlic, Sliced Meatball, EVOO, Pecorino-Romano and Oregano
LA REGINA – Giant Sicilian Style – 500 Degree Gas Brick Oven House Made Focaccia, Vine Ripened Tomato Sauce, Mozzarella Cheese, Sopressatta, Prosciutto, Arugula, Piave, and Parmigiano-Reggiano
MARGHERITA – Napoletana Style – 900 Degree Woodfired Brick Oven 12″ Charred Crust Using Caputo Flour, San Marzano Tomato Sauce, Fior di Latte Mozzarella, Fresh Basil, Sea Salt and EVOO
HONEY PIE – California Style – 900 Degree Woodfired Brick Oven 12″ Charred Crust using Caputo Flour, Mozzarella, Calabrese Peppers, Serrano Peppers, Green Onions, topped with Local Honey, Fried Caramelized Onions and Piave Cheese
NEW YORKER – New York/New Haven Style – 700 Degree Electric Brick Oven 16″ Lightly Charred Crust Using Tony’s Flour, Sliced Mozzarella, Tomato Sauce, House Made Fennel Sausage, Pepperoni, Garlic, EVOO, Oregano, Pecorino-Romano and Ricotta
OLD CHICAGO – Chicago Cracker Thin Style – 650 Degree Gas Brick Oven 16″ Cracker Thin Crust using Cerasota Flour, Tomato Sauce, Mozzarella, Provolone, Garlic, Sliced Meatballs, Italian Sausage, Ricotta, EVOO, Pecorino-Romano and Oregano
TRIPLE BERRY – American Originals Style – 550 Gas Brick Oven 13″ Medium Crust Using Tony’s Flour, Mozzarella, Mascarpone, Strawberries, Blueberries, Grapes, Raspberries, Honey, Powdered Sugar
TONY’S TIRAMISU – Malibu Infused Lady Fingers, Shaved Dark Chocolate, Topped with Frangelico
MUD PIE – House Made Oreo Cookie Crust, Chocolate Ganache, Coffee and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, Topped With Hot Fudge, Caramel and House Made Whip Cream
CHEESECAKE – Classic Cheesecake with a Berry Puree and House Made Whip Cream
Owned by Pizza Champion Tony Gemignani, a man who friends both local and distant say is in every way deserving of the accolades accumulated through various competitions around the world, it was more than two-years since visiting the DTLV Pizza Rock that reservations were made for six friends at the Green Valley Ranch location where service unfortunately compromised a by-and-large delicious night.
As wide-ranging in size as it is in scope, the restaurant’s footprint covering nearly two-hundred seats when accounting for an outdoor patio empty due to rain, Pizza Rock GVR features several aspects familiar to fans the first and although overhead music ranging from Soungarden to Motley Crew at times is a touch to loud for conversation the volume is never “uncomfortable,” though we admittedly ate too early to experience the Diesel Truck-turned-DJ-Booth scene.
Arranged as a tasting with the intention to see several of Gemignani’s pies, pastas, appetizers and desserts, it was after greetings by a manager ‘coordinating’ the experience that the group was seated at a sizable eight-top, twelve out of fifteen items sent as an avalanche of food over the course of just 55 minutes with our young female sever doing her best to keep up even as we begged off some items due to a frank lack of table space.
Trying not to let front of house follies tarnish the experience, though time-sensitive Pizzas such as the Margherita and brunch-only Triple Berry were undoubtedly compromised by the breakneck pace that saw both tasted luke-warm to ‘cool,’ appetizers shine across the board on Pizza Rock’s menu, and with several offered as Happy Hour Specials one would be hard-pressed to name a better encased meat in town than the honey-brushed Calabrese Sausage that walks a tightrope of sweet, hot and savory while the Fried Green Tomatoes Caprese approaches Italy by way of the South with texturally stunning results.
Not particularly sold on Pizza Rock’s sweet Pomodoro Sauce, though fried eggplant was lighter than most with a crunchy batter that speaks of fresh oil and quick frying equally appreciated on the Manhattan Calzone benefitted by gobs of creamy ricotta nestled next to meatballs that are almost devoid of filler or bread crumbs, focaccia offered as table bread is made even more tempting as featured in “La Regina,” an award winner for good reason as the Sicilian Style sings beneath hand crushed vine ripened tomatoes plus three cheeses including aged Piave DOP that adds an extra dimension of richness to Sopressatta, Prosciutto, and crisp Arugula.
Spending some time before service watching the men and women work various ovens it was in deferring to the kitchen that further pizzas were offered and although simultaneous delivery may have led to some delays in tasting and a palate painted by residual flavors the trio of pies from West Coast to East were each representative of their culture with the California Style “Honey Pie” from the same Caputo base and Woodfired Oven as the Margherita featuring a deep char beneath Mozzarella, Peppers, Fried Onions and Honey while the New Yorker offered up greasy slices far better than the ‘traditional’ Street Food as a result of superior ingredients, the same compliment owed to square’s of Chicago’s cracker-style popularized in Bars but far one-upped at Pizza Rock with creamy Provolone and Ricotta plus housemade meatballs and sausage.
Unimpressed by the Triple Berry that not only suffered by being served at the same time as three savory pies, but also as a result of overcooking that denatured proteins to the point of chewy as opposed to soft, desserts remain much the same as those offered at the original outpost with the cheesecake quite similar to Junior’s in terms of tang as well as texture while the Mud Pie is so rich that sharing is mandatory, the cup of tiramisu a far better selection with Frangelico adding an extra layer of intrigue without becoming too “boozy,” each bite reinforcing the belief that one might be best just ordering this for his or herself.
THREE AND A HALF STARS: Totaling just $260 including a few cocktails and beers with enough food to have probably served a dozen hungry adults, Pizza Rock at Green Valley Ranch executes a large menu better than expected, though expediting as well as service could have been better coordinated to create a better overall ‘experience.’
RECOMMENDED: HONEY CALABRESE SAUSAGE, FRIED “GREEN” TOMATO CAPRESE, DEEP FRIED MANHATTAN CALZONE, OLD CHICAGO, TONY’S TIRAMISU.
AVOID: Pomodoro Sauce is too sweet and the Margherita as well as Triple Berry were marred by timing issues, though I didn’t particularly enjoy the former at the DTLV location either. Ordering too much at once is probably best avoided for those looking to hang out and enjoy things hot, as well.
TIP: Open from 11a until past midnight seven days a week with happy hour specials and weekend brunch including bloody Mary’s, Mimosas and More.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.