Pulcinella (Calgary) – Kinda burnt.
I wrote something about Pulcinella a long time ago on my old food blog. I was a bit of a loser then. I actually wrote this line: “go get a big Spek E Rucola to yourself, fold it in half without cutting it, eat it like a taco, finish off with a tiramisu, and you will be riding that stairway to foodie heaven.”
Sadly… I don’t think I have improved with respect to lameness.
Pulcinella is a pizza restaurant in Kensington that specializes in a specific type of pizza. It is certified by the Pizza Association of Naples (www.vpn.org). As we were told by the bartender, the standards are quite high. The oven has to be of a certain design and has to burn at a certain temperature. Certain woods must be used in the oven as well as certain bricks to build it. The dough itself is made of imported wheat. The meat, tomatoes, and vegetables are all imported.
The Spek E Rucola is my personal favourite for $23.93 (wholy crap!). It is about 12 inches in diameter and could satisfy two people for lunch. It is described as: “tomato sauce, mozzarella, speck (smoked prosciutto), cherry tomatoes, arugula, parmigiano, basil”. The crust was thin and slightly crispy and had a lot of the flavour of the wood. Or was it the charcoal. The main problem with the pizza is that the crust periodically has the distinct taste of charring. The pizza is also very watery. Too much tomato. “The tartness of the cherry tomatoes and tomato sauce, combined with the saltiness of the spek and the mozzarella, was beautifully balanced by the bitterness of the arugula.” Yup. I actually wrote that many years ago. It is a tasty pizza though.
Our second pizza was the Quattro Stagioni for $17.95. Essentially 4 flavours of pizza on one pizza. One section was mozzarella, one section was shredded prosciutto cotto, one section was artichokes, and the last section was anchovies with mushrooms. The mozzarella section was pretty plain, like a cheese pizza. The artichoke section was quite tart and had a nice texture. I never thought artichokes could go on pizza but apparently, they can and do so well! The prosciutto cotto section was unremarkable. Sliced ham on pizza. Nothing special here. The anchovies and mushrooms section was a stretch for me as I don’t usually like salted fish. An OK pizza but not great. None of the 4 flavours were really that great.
The Capricciosa for $18.95 (tomato sauce, artichokes, mushrooms, black olives, mozzarella, prosciutto cotto, parmigiano, basil). Essentially the Quattro Stagioni but now mixed all together. Salty and sour. Not a bad pizza but I found the burnt flavour of the crust really quite jarring.
Overally, Pulcinella is a nice idea. Special pizza, special ingredients, made a special way. The problem is primarily in execution as I find the periodic flavours of burnt crust offputting. Also, these pizzas are difficult to share as they don’t divide very easily with knives and as such, aren’t we losing the very point of pizza: sharing a meal with friends? Apparently, I am still quite a lame writer.
Pulcinella, 1147 Kensington Crescent NW, Calgary, (403)283-1166. www.pulcinella.ca