STELLA!!

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What is it about the quest for pizza? It’s a noble journey for a humble food. It’s a never-ending search for crust, tomatoes and the perfect topping. It’s a mystical journey in search of satisfaction and everyone defines satisfaction differently. Ken Starr has absolutely NAILED it with Stella, his new pizza place.

Good Pizza at Stella What is it about the quest for pizza? It’s a noble journey
for a humble food.  It’s a never-ending
search for crust, tomatoes and the perfect topping. It’s a mystical journey in
search of satisfaction and everyone defines satisfaction differently.

Our own Pizza Guru calls us from Italy with tales of his
latest find, delicious, but alas, the journey is never ending.

 And so, one day, we went to Philadelphia where we heard about
a new pizza place. I told you looking for pizza was a journey. And yes, we drove
to Philly for it, but our car is a hybrid so technically it was an eco-journey.

Pizza at Stella
Every city has its master restaurateur, the guy who gets it
right nearly every time. NYC has Keith McNally, Philadelphia has Ken Starr and Stephen Starr has absolutely NAILED it with Stella, his new pizza place. Keith,
take note.

 Stella interior
 A smallish restaurant in Society Hill, it has the requisite gorgeous tiled wood burning  pizza oven with a nearby stack of logs. It is sort of a non-descript
interior, but not in a bad way, but in a casual, under designed way, with bare
tables, a paper menu and big windows to let in the spring air. A place where
the diner and the food are important, a place where the waiters care about what
they serve. It was late on a Monday afternoon, so it wasn’t crowded, but our
waiter knew his ingredients and could chat wine and pizza with the best of us.
A refreshing change from a not-to-be-named Italian place on the Piazza in
Northern Liberties where the waiter was entirely clueless about anything
Italian, I mean entirely clueless.

Arugula with some pizza  Back to Stella, crisp crust, great toppings, good sauce
flavor, and most bangin’ of all…great arugula! 90% of the time, back home in
Umbria, we all order rucola (arugula) on top of the pizza. Its one stop
shopping, you get the entire food pyramid on your pizza. I’ve had arugula on
top of my pizza in NY a few times and it’s a limp and nasty disappointment.  Stella figured it out, a pile of very fresh arugula thrown on top at the last moment before serving. How
hard is that? Apparently it’s very challenging.

 The antipasto selections that we sampled were also
excellent: a roasted beet salad (I love beets, but I hate the red mess they
make when you prep them…I know, I’m such a princess) and an awesome lentil
stew. The lentil and sausage stew is the perfect late night, been out, need
some ballast in my stomach food. The alluring touch of cinnamon in the stew
made it all the more comforting. 
It’s a cold weather dish so I don’t know if it will stay on the menu,
but catch it if you can.

 The only demerit point on the Pizza Guru chart would be the
lack of a lovely lass to serve the pizza, but even Guru would have gotten over
it, that’s how good this pizza is.  
And I bet they do have some lovely lasses working there, but I was
perfectly entertained by our knowledgeable and tattooed waiter.  Wine list wasn’t bad either, try the
Rose’ from Abruzzo.

Beware the Meter Maids of Society Hill

And a warning: Feed the parking meter!! They have some seriously scary Meter Maids in Society Hill.

 

Pizzeria Stella

2nd & Lombard

Philadelphia

215-320-8000

 

 

 

 

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