I was invited to attend an Editor's Tasting at a fairly new spot in Williamsburg called Vertuccio's Pizza on the Park (232 N.12th., between Driggs & Roebling, 718-486-3900). It's in the old Mamalu play space & cafe whose cavernous space been transformed into sort of an Italian Courtyard, complete with a faux water well and stone walls, and in the summer I think they'll have a pretty sweet backyard area. We were seated and given complimentary glasses of wine (they have since received their liquor license, and are selling red & white wines by the glass & bottle, in addition to beer), by the very friendly and attentive waitstaff who made sure we had everything we needed.
We started with a Cheese Plate (3 choices, dotted with olives) and a Cured Meat Plate (3 choices, again with olives). We were given a Gryuere, a Parmesean and a Provolone. The cheeses were good, but they were all strong and flavorful, and not enough variety, as they were too similar and the tastes overlapped too much. The meat, too, was not varied enough. There was Pancetta, Speck and Prosciutto. Each had the same soft texture and each had strips of fat mingled in with the meat. It would have been nice to have some spicy Soppresatta or Salami. Everything was fresh and good quality though.
A Bresaola Pizza was brought out next, straight from the Brock Oven, topped with Mozzarella, Baby Spinach, Black Truffle & Parmigiano Cheese. I love Bresaola and this pizza was absolutely fantastic. The meat was flavorful and supple, the cheese plentiful and the crust crispy, except in the middle where it got a little soggy. The truffle was also a bit overwhelming, and took over the other, more subtle flavors. I liked it though, and would definitely order it again. They also offer a Gluten-Free pizza.
Our next course was a White Bean Salad with Shrimp. It was tasty, with a lemon-herb dressing, and the shrimp were tender and nicely cooked.
We then got to try two Pasta dishes. One was Fettuccine in a creamy tomato sauce with spinach, cherry tomatoes and scallops. My boyfriend made a Gorgon Ramsey crack about the chopped parsley sprinkled around the edge of the plate, but the dish was nice. The sauce was lightly salted, the pasta fresh & not overcooked and the scallops a nice change from chicken.
We also had the Fettuccine with spinach, mushrooms, parmigiano cheese & truffle oil. On top of everything else, I think we were too stuffed to appreciate it. This is a dish best paired with a light salad or shared with someone else. The truffle oil overpowered everything though; it's really strong so only a little bit is needed and the creamy sauce was quite heavy.
We ended up taking the slice of Cheesecake home, there was no way we could even try it at that point! It was creamy, slightly sweet and decent. My grandfather made the most amazing Italian Cheesecake I've ever had, so I'm spoiled and never order it when I'm out.
I think Vertuccio's will settle into it's space, get it's 'restaurant-legs' and do pretty well. They just need to go lighter on the Truffle Oil! Delivery offered within a 5-mile radius.