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A Meal at Pizzeria Solario Can Be Hit or Miss, But the Hits Are Great

You'll feel like you're playing a game of pizza roulette.

The Tartufo (Italian for "truffle") sounds wonderful in theory, but too much dairy overwhelmed any other delicate flavors that might have been lurking among the white garlic crema sauce and Fontina and Pecorino Romano cheeses. Even with a fried egg and white truffle oil on top, it was nothing more than a regular cheese pizza and was lacking the tart acidity of red sauce that usually balances a solo il formaggio slice.

So, too, was the Margherita pie — my litmus test for a good pizza joint — unimpressive. Somehow the mozzarella wasn't creamy enough, the red sauce not spicy or commanding enough, and the basil just not enough. The Margherita is also such that it cannot really be picked up without making a mess. The FAQ page on Pizzeria Solario's Web site notes that authentic pizza Napoletana should be soft and wet in the middle from the fresh mozzarella and olive oil drizzled over the top. In Naples, many people eat pizza with a knife and fork, so picking up a wet slice isn't an issue. Here, though, it struck me as more soggy than authentic. But that's just a personal preference. I like to fold my pizza slice in half lengthwise and eat it as my New York-born mother taught me to do.

Nearly any pie with prosciutto or Calabrian peppers makes up for a few pizza misses, however. The fennel sausage pizza with chile oil is available only at lunch, but it's worth a midday stop for the spicy herbal sausage that comes straight from the toe of Italy's boot. The Calabrian is unusual because of its use of gorgonzola — a semi-stinky, funky blue cheese, fatty pancetta and ruddy swirls of Calabrian chile puree, the latter of which which makes the pie surprisingly spicy. But that just means you might need an extra sip or two of Moretti or Peroni, imported Italian beers.

Pizza Solario's Parma 600 is a quality pie.
Troy Fields
Pizza Solario's Parma 600 is a quality pie.

Location Info

Map

Pizzeria Solario

3333 Weslayan, 100
Houston, TX 77027

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Greenway Plaza

Details

Hours: Sunday and Monday, 5 to 9 p.m.; Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Rocket salad: $4.50/$8
Caesar salad: $4.50/$8
Orecchiette and cheese: $8
Polpette: $9
Sausage pizza 12" (lunch): $14
Margherita pizza 12": $12
Calabrian pizza 12": $16
Tartufo pizza 12": $19
Parma 600 pizza 12": $19



For more on Pizzeria Solario:

Slideshow: A Closer Look at Pizzeria Solario
Blog: Vera Pizza Napoletana-ish Pies at Pizzeria Solario


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If at this point you still remember Longfellow's verse, you know that since the Calabrian pizza was so good, something not-so-good must be waiting in the wings. In this case, it's the salads, with brown-tinged romaine leaves and watery Caesar dressing, and the polpette (meatballs), saved only by the sugo amatriciana sauce that flavored otherwise bland ground meat.

It's upsetting to me, actually, as it must have been for Longfellow when his generally sweet daughter wailed for no apparent reason. When Pizzeria Solario is on, it's on, churning out pizzas the likes of which I've never tasted before, in Italy or anywhere else. When it's not on, though, which was, sadly, rather frequently on my visits, I can only wonder if this mercurial little pizza shop with so much going for it can satisfy the demands of Houston diners eager for consistency and a fine slice of pie.
_____________________

In trying to distill the experience at Pizzeria Solario into a few words or a single phrase, my friend and I landed upon this: pizza roulette. You place your bet and hope that luck smiles on you and you've chosen a winning color or number. Only in this case, your bet is your order, and the color or number on which you're staking your money is a pizza, an appetizer or a salad.

I'm going to give you some advice for when you dine at Pizzeria Solario: Always bet on Calabrian peppers and aged meat. If the ingredients of a pizza or appetizer don't list either of those two options, steer clear.

If you bet on the sweetly musky imported chile oil or wonderfully aged prosciutto marbled with rich fat, though, the results, as they say, will be very good indeed.

kaitlin.steinberg@houstonpress.com

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4 comments
rgwalt
rgwalt

So, would you recommend Dolce Vita or Pizzaro's over this new comer?

Mells
Mells

Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana = hahahaha. You don't need to be certified to make an authentic Italian style pizza.  Napolitani are smart (FURBI in Italian, which translates to cunning) to brand their pizza for people who believe certification = good pizza.

mehtaZ
mehtaZ

@Mells 

Agree! 

(and you know the etymology of cunning of course, right?)

 
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