In a word: Well-prepared.
The specs: #0484
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Yelp, Eating the World, Lost Albatross, Heartland, Madison Foodie, Pop Will Eat Me, Something Else to Do, Ruppert Food Blog 11/5/08 and 3/28/09, Dane101, Queer Supper Club, Isthmus, Slice, Making it in Madison, official web site,
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JM and Nichole ate the vesuvio salad, bergamo pizza, and a fountain drink.
The bill was $22, or $11/person, plus tip.
JM and Nichole both gave Pizza Brutta an A- (see our grading rubric).
It's pretty gutsy to name your pizza place Brutta, as in "ugly," but Pizza Brutta seems to be pulling it off (that is, being a pizza place). The fast-casual, detail- and design-conscious atmosphere is attractive and yet aloof.
Our vesuvio salad consisted of spinach and radicchio, prosciutto crumble, thin bands of gruyere, enough red pepper for zing, and a unique smoked tomato vinaigrette that tasted like midnight Mass. It was a little delicate for JM's taste, but Nichole didn't mind finishing his portion.
We noticed as we ordered that the pizza oven thermometer read 666 degrees, which was pretty cool. And hot. Our pizza arrived on the heels of the salad, topped with a brushing of red sauce; cool, anise-tinged basil; sun-dried tomatoes; smoky ham; and mild gorgonzola. It was definitely not finger food, and had we not read all about how the pizza is meant to be "wet" we would have been surprised. The thin, yet puffy-on-the-edges crust tasted, for want of a better word, young - the flavor was simple and bready, without much depth or nuttiness. The center risked a quick reduction to gumminess.
The pie's preselected toppings came across as a team of rivals, reinforcing the idea that simpler is always better with Neapolitan-style pizza and next time we may just build our own.