Perky Eggplant, Smoked Salmon, and Gorgonzola Pizza at Piola

Is that an eggplant on your pizza or are you just happy to see me?
Is that an eggplant on your pizza or are you just happy to see me?
Joanna O'Leary

I predict this post's title will elicit two responses: 1) Why perky? or 2) Ew. That topping combination couldn't have been good.

To the first reaction, I say, "See picture." I have no idea how or why that one eggplant slice is positioned, um, so erectly. But that's how the pizza arrived, with one lone aubergine waving hello. I waved back. Then, I ate him.

To the second reaction, I say, "Don't knock it to you've tried it." Piola's menu is too long, overwhelming and bit confusing in their seemingly arbitrary differentiation of pizza categories. Everything looked good, and after 15 minutes of perusing, I was no closer to making a decision. When the waiter came back for the third time, I just made my own pizza with all the toppings that interested me (salmon, eggplant, gorgonzola), and little thought about the combined effect.

But it worked. The thin crust and the minimal coating of tomato sauce allowed the toppings to take center stage. Smoked salmon was rich and salty and stood up well against the equally strong chunks of gorgonzola. I was expecting the eggplant to be breaded and fried, but the lighter sauteed slices added some welcome moisture and fiber to the otherwise hearty pizza. A base of thin mozzarella cheese was the perfect platform for the aforementioned bizzaro symphony of cheese, meat and vegetables.

I paid for my topping promiscuity: $14 for the pizza. Yowser. Perhaps I should do some addition before I order so liberally. But it was damn good. Piola, are you reading? Make this pizza a standard entry on the menu, price it at $10, and I'll come back every week.

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3201 Louisiana St.
Houston, TX 77006


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