Vingenzo’s, Woodstock GA

Well, here’s a surprise. This pizza restaurant in Woodstock completely blindsided me. A couple of years ago, when everybody was going nuts – and rightly so – about the mighty and wonderful Varasano’s, this place calmly opened and casually revealed a product every bit as good, only with a wider menu and a much more laid-back and relaxed atmosphere, with no pretension or artifice. Seriously, I’ve had several truly great pies at Varasano’s, and one visit which was a little disappointing, but Vingenzo’s is every bit as wonderful as Varasano’s at their best and, honestly, surpasses them in an area or two. I think that I might have found a new favorite pizza place in the Atlanta area.

Neopolitan pies are the order of the day here. Just about everything is handmade, down to the cheeses, and served up on eleven-inch pies. I think that two of these should feed three people.

On Wednesday, the four of us came up here, meeting our friends Neal, Donna and Eric for supper. My daughter was under orders not to protest or make any hints; she was on my list for overindulging at breakfast. My son, getting over a cold, had lost his voice, and so he, literally, pointed out several interesting pies from their menu that he’d like to try. I recommend that everybody try this out themselves one day soon. It’s so much nicer and more pleasant selecting pizza when one child cannot protest and the other has been strongly warned not to.

We had an awesome server who went over everything and made some suggestions, encouraging us to try their mozzarella pairings. These appetizers, priced between $7-10 each, give you a good portion of cheese along with something else to complement the taste. I tried the very soft mozzarella di bufala with a little pepper, served with a few leaves of mixed greens and two white anchovies. It was completely delicious. Neal had a different, creamier cheese, Stracciatella di Burrata, that came with greens, cherry tomatoes and capers. If you’re sharing, then for $18 you can get the “Grand Tasting,” which gives you each of Vingenzo’s three cheeses along with the small salad, peppers, capers and two types of olives. You don’t get the delicious anchovies this way, but I expect that many of my readers probably don’t care for those anyway.

Marie was not feeling especially hungry, so she enjoyed a bowl of pasta e fagioli soup for dinner along with a good bit of bread. You’ll definitely want to try this; it’s a pizza crust, basically, with olive oil and a little parmesan. The children and I, meanwhile, split two pizzas and I think that we chose well. The Regina comes with sausage and wild mushrooms and that was pretty knockdown good on its own, but the other pie, Bianca con Prosciutto e Fontina, was the master stroke. It came with prosciutto and a heap of arugula atop more of this amazing cheese. It is very similar to the excellent Nucci pizza at Varasano’s, but heaven help me, I liked this even better. I don’t know where the notion of mixing arugula and salty meats together originated, but I sure am glad that somebody figured it out.

Vingenzo’s also makes fresh pasta – Neal said that his was wonderful and Donna and Eric also enjoyed their linguine – with a variety of sauces and toppings that all sound amazing. With an introductory meal this good and a menu this dense, this is absolutely a place that needs revisiting, and without delay. Heck, one of these days, I’d like to start working on the wine list here, too. I am really glad that we found this place, and look forward to another visit soon.

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