When the good food gods bestow a blessing when you least expect it, look up and thank the stars.
We had arrived uncharacteristically early for a flight on Concourse A. We were starving, looked with trepidation at the food court and — lo! — Varasano’s Pizzeria was open for business. The dining space hugs the rear windows, built around a piano bar. The piano must have been a good idea in concept (carve out a little aural as well as physical space from the food court), but we weren’t exactly humming along to the tunes amidst the concourse cacophony .
No matter. The pizza is good. Not as good as the pizza at the original Varasano’s, but far better than just about anything you can eat in an airport. The head pizzaiolo spent two years working at Varasano’s before coming here, and he and his crew turn out crusts that are airy, tangy, gorgeously puffed and delicately charred. You will find all the signature flavors, including the Nucci (left) with its irresistibly sharp mixture of Emmenthaler cheese, olives, capicola and arugula. The Nana’s, with its herbed San Marzano tomato sauce was also quite good. The pizzas come in a snap, and there’s a small but quality selection of draft and bottled beers on hand.
By the way, you can order at the counter to eat in the food court or make your seat mate insanely jealous, or you can look for someone to seat you in the restaurant. If you have a few minutes, take a load off.
I was less impressed with my first visit to Slice & Pint, the the restaurant that spiffed up the old Everybody’s Pizza space in Emory Village. Come January, it will begin brewing its own beers in house, but it has gotten its liquor license after a long delay. Hallelujah, there is cold beer here.
The kitchen has a commendable commitment to using local, organic and natural products, and the menu features witty add-ons such as homemade Tater Tots as well as an appealing list of daily specials. The pizzas range from pepperoni, to Thai green curry to Riverview Farms “Swine Pie.”
It all sounds fun, but in practice comes off a little too DIY.
The White Pizza (right) was, well, your basic gut bomb, loaded with mozz, provolone, feta, parmesan and honking cloves of roasted garlic. It might have been tasty in an over-the-top way had it not been sitting on top of a gummy crust.
Another pie featured lots of delicious sliced pepperoni from Heywood’s Provision Company in Marietta but suffered from that same high-gravity crust.
We tried a couple of non-pizza snacks, including a tacky, chunky white bean dip that tasted harsh with rosemary and garlic and came with cold pizza dough wedges. I was happy to see a cremini mushroom soup on the specials list, but it had a weird, dusty flavor — maybe dried dill? Not a fan.
Let’s go back when the brewery opens and see what’s what.
- by John Kessler for the Food & More blog