Showing posts with label Lantana. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lantana. Show all posts

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pizzeria Oceano - Lantana, Florida

Pizzeria Oceano

This was not the pizzeria I expected to be writing about now. With Miami's local hero Michael Schwartz having recently opened a pizzeria of his own (Harry's Pizzeria, named for his son, in the Design District spot that used to be the home of PizzaVolante), I figured that was going to be the subject of my next ode to pizza.[1] But earlier this week I found myself driving back from West Palm Beach around dinner time, and made a stop at Pizzeria Oceano in Lantana, a a place that had been on my radar since stumbling across this little blurb in Broward New Times (yes, you can always catch my attention with whipped lardo).

Two years ago, pizza was all the rage in South Florida, so much so that we staged a four part, eleven location pizza crawl in the summer of 2009.[2] That happens to be around the time that Pizzeria Oceano opened. But Pizzeria Oceano doesn't seem like a place trying to latch onto a trend as much as a genuinely singular vision. Chef/owner Dak Kerprich keeps a short menu that changes daily, procures as many of his ingredients as he can from local farmers and fishermen, and refuses to compromise on quality. In the morning they prep as much as they think they'll need for the day, and when they run out - sometimes as early as 7:30 pm - they close up for the night. Much to the puzzlement and chagrin of some, Pizzeria Oceano won't do takeout, and they won't do substitutions or additions. If you don't like it, they're OK with that.

So am I.

Pizzeria Oceano menu

The place itself is mostly patio, with about a half-dozen tables outside on the front deck sharing space with planters of fresh herbs. A tight indoor space has a couple more tables and a row of barstools along with the kitchen and its wood-burning oven. The menu lists a short selection of appetizers (a/k/a "Not Pizza"), and an equally short selection of "composed" pizzas along with one "basic" version topped with mozzarella, pecorino, tomato and basil which you can further embellish with a choice of toppings. The menu also lists the provenance of almost all the ingredients you'll find in the dishes.

Roasted Bluefish

You don't see bluefish on restaurant menus often, primarily because the oily fish has a tendency to turn rapidly, and is consequently accused of being too "fishy." The waiter advised that theirs was just caught off the coast of Cape Canaveral, and the fish was gorgeously fresh and clean-tasting. Accompaniments were simple and classically Mediterranean: wilted escarole, slivers of lightly pickled onion, toasted pine nuts.

Country Ham & Egg Pizza

But what we really need to talk about is the pizza. Though I had some inclination to try their "Basic" as a baseline test, the "Country Ham and Egg" won out. Of course it did. It's topped with shavings of country ham from Edwards Ham in Surry, Virginia, a couple of golden-yolked fresh eggs, creamy fontina and salty, sharp pecorino cheeses, a scatter of green onions and a generous grinding of black pepper.

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