Thursday, July 12, 2012

Cleveland: Vero Bistro

Vero Bistro is the newly incarnated pizza place in the old La Gelateria space on Fairmount. This is a very similar experience to the former tenant; the main exception is that the oven has been moved from the front to the back, and now there's an upstairs. I could be wrong but I don't recall there being upstairs seating before.
    First let's start with the website. I was critical of Sweetie Fry's website and this one is no different. Nowadays most people look at a website before they ever think about going to a restaurant. It tells a story; a first impression if you will. Since websites are fairly inexpensive to produce, a hastily thrown together website that tells us very little is not the way to start things. Unless the place is old school and its reputation precedes itself, the bare bones approach doesn't really cut it for most customers.Some pictures of the decor and the food would be nice to see.

     I ordered a Margherita pizza to go ($9). With the high heat of the wood-fired oven it was done and ready to go in a matter of minutes.

     Pizza Margherita

    Here's my assessment:
    • Very small. If you're going to serve small pizzas, put them in small boxes. This looked like a two year old child that was sleeping in a queen-sized bed. The scale dwarfs the pizza and makes it look even smaller than it really is. I'm guessing it was 10". Buy boxes that are the size of your pizzas or vice versa.
    • The sauce was actually very good. Simple and sweet. I also like the smaller basil leaves. Nothing sucks worse than have a huge basil leaf slide of the slice, hanging from you mouth.
    • There was a perfect amount of cheese. 
    • The bottom was straight up burnt. If the char was on top of the crust, it would be a little easier on the palate. A small bit of char on the bottom is good; I'm talking about spots that should be the diameter of a pea. The vast silver dollar sized char spots laid a coat of bitter burnt taste on your tongue, overpowering everything else on the pizza. Since the top was not all that charred, I have to believe the floor temp on that oven is just too damn hot. The debate of char on the bottom of the pizza is very subjective. See HERE.
     The char went too far
    •  There was not a whole lot of lift or puff to the crust. With a high heat oven you've got the thermal power to pop a fermented dough into the stratosphere. If you look at the picture this crust is pretty flat. The hole structure is fairly uniform. Top notch pizza has a pretty good diversity due to a good fermentation.
    I feel the pizzas need to be larger. The 12" pie is about as perfect as it gets in a wood-fired oven. Is it going to cost more? Sure, but I could have easily eaten two of these pizzas. Vero Bistro has only been open for a month or so. As they settle into a groove and better understand how the dough and the oven are interacting; I expect the product will get better. This isn't the last these guys have seen of me. I'll be coming in every so often to see how they're coming along. The owner is a young guy and he's going to learn from his mistakes. I have no problem updating this post to reflect an improvement over this past visit.

    Vero Bistro
    12421 Cedar Road
    Cleveland, OH 44106
    (216) 229-8383

    Vero Bistro on Urbanspoon

    1 comment:

    1. I'll probably give this place a try, but I'm not sure how it will succeed when La Gelateria--which also served wood-fired pizza and had similar hours--failed. I think La Gelateria also had upstairs seating, although it wasn't often occupied. That burn did seem a bit much, but most places do take a little while to get kinks worked out.

      Sorry to hear about Seamus. Dogs' ability to read their owners dispositions is amazing. They're great companions and family members. I tried to post a half page comment a few weeks ago on your post on him, but I somehow lost it.

      Have you tried Whole Foods new Roman pizza? It's quite good. The crust is clearly proofed a lot longer than their other pizza, the sauce is richer/sweeter, and the cheese portion is more generous.

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