In a town not necessarily known for great pizza, the Crossroads’ PizzaBella manages to deliver a mighty fine product in a style that isn’t necessarily well-represented locally. Initially opened by chef Rob Dalzell, PizzaBella closed briefly last year after the financial shakeup that drove most of Dalzell’s businesses under. It quickly re-opened under new ownership essentially unchanged.
A recent visit found it largely empty on a weekday evening. The attractive, modern dining room features a lot of wood accents which serves to warm the space up quite a bit. Two wood-fired pizza ovens anchor one corner of the room, where a couple of cooks prepare the thirteen varieties of pizza offered on the menu.
Choice is limited here but it’s easy to see that topping combinations have been chosen with care. In addition to pizza, the menu has a handful of delicious-looking appetizers and only a couple of desserts. I for one, like the simplicity of the menu although others might crave the endless do-it-yourself topping deliberations that are the hallmark of most traditional pizza joints.
The brussel sprout appetizer was prepared in the hot pizza oven and came dressed with a pancetta ham vinaigrette, dried cranberries and almonds. It proved to be slightly too big for two people as a starter, but tasted wonderful.
For dinner proper, I opted for the classic pizza margherita which featured fresh basil, tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and roasted garlic, the latter of which is an unusual but welcome addition.
The Prosciutto pizza, while bordering on too salty, nonetheless was a favorite of mine. The storied Italian ham was barely warmed, most likely added just after removal from the oven. A pile of spicy baby arugula provides a delightful fresh contrast to the buttery richness of the meat and parmesan.
PizzaBella’s crust is a force to be reckoned with, as it stays defiantly crispy–despite its thinness–long after it leaves the oven. The pie itself is rustic and uneven in appearance but matches the simplicity and quality of the toppings.
Rather than dump a ton of highly flavorful and expensive ingredients together on its pies, this places focuses on quality toppings used in a judicious manner. No, it’s not the traditional pizza experience, but PizzaBella delivers mightily.