Monday, February 13, 2012

A Night at Nomad

Last Friday saw the Philadelphia opening of Nomad Pizza, a brick-and-mortar outpost of the beloved REO Speedwagon truck from Hopewell, NJ. It’s tucked in a quiet alley just off of South Street, and on a wintry day its windows beam with the burnished warmth of char-crusted pizzas and a big, roaring copper oven. Settle in at the long wooden table downstairs, or at one of the tables or bar stools above, and grab a beer while you’re at it: among other artisan brews, they’ve got Allagash White and Dogfish Head on tap. We had the opportunity to sample a variety of Nomad's most popular fare.

Caesar Salad (romaine lettuce, freshly made caesar dressing, anchovies, parmesan, fresh baked croutons, and black pepper): Nomad knows (and is known for) its pizza, but the salads are worth looking into. Start with their Caesar—hearts of romaine, dressed with a simple hand. There’s a sprinkling of Parmesan, some nice, briny anchovy fillets, and buttery flaps of “crouton” (thin slabs of baked pizza dough) to the side. It’s not show-stopping, but it’s pleasant, to the point, and that crouton is damn good.

Margherita (Italian tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, organic parmesan, basil, organic olive oil, and sea salt): The simplicity of this pie accentuated Nomad's primary draw: rustic wood-fired pizza just out of the oven. Generous nuggets of gooey mozzarella sprawled across the pizza's just-tomatoey-enough surface, while fragrant herbs added an aromatic touch. Fresh quality ingredients led to a pizza that was devoured in moments: simple and delicious.

Arugula con Prosciutto (Margherita di Bufala topped with Applegate Farms prosciutto, fresh organic arugula, aged parmesan, and organic olive oil): Out comes the next pie, a leafy number ribboned with pink prosciutto. The arugula is pert and peppery, and there’s plenty of it. (An added plus to the arugula blanket: it precludes the oil buildup common to other pies.) Slivers of that lovely, nutty-sweet ham slip in every few bites; a pale swatch of mozzarella oozes out from underneath. We’d have liked more prosciutto, but there’s no denying it’s a solid pie.

Tartufo (Imported mozzarella di bufala, Cherry Grove Farm toma cheese, shiitake mushrooms, organic garlic, Double Brook Farm fresh egg, sea salt, and black pepper topped with Boschetto al Tartufo Bianchetto and black truffle oil): This was the first thing we smelled when we walked in the door- love at first smell? Of course, this made it a top contender for pizzas to try. While we're all for the intoxicating essence of truffle, copiously drizzling the pizza in said oil after it's been taken out of the oven is a bit much. We loved the taste of farm fresh runny egg on the pie too (despite its contribution to the pizza's slight sogginess), its golden rivulets of yolk spilling over the crust and adding a magical richness to the pie. This flavor combination never grows old.

Spicy Sausage (Renaissance Sausage, Italian tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, organic parmesan, caramelized onions, basil, organic olive oil, and sea salt): Make no mistake: this pie tops all. The crust, though rather flimsy under the weight of meat and cheese, is puffy-crisp on the edges; and the sweet, curling, caramelized onions promise only good things. But it’s the sausage that stands out, that surprises: fennel seeds poke through the tender knobs of meat, lacing them with the anise flavor of only the best Italian sausages.

Our advice? Make a nomadic trek to Nomad Pizza.

-- Nicole Woon and Eesha Sardesai

1 comment:

  1. I love their Pizza. Always had it before the huge crowd. As soon as it gets crowded,the quality decreases. So, always get there early. The best pizza I ever had (when done properly). Can't wait for the opening of the restaurant



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