Monday, July 21, 2014

Restaurant Review: Grampa's Pizzeria

Gilbert Altschul the Chef/Owner of the 1 year old Grampa's Pizzeria on Williamson street knows his ingredients. He knows his suppliers. He even knows where to get a bunch of old guns.

In the former location of Grampa's Gun shop, in the liberal bastion of Willy street, Pizza has replaced firearms. And I for one, feel fuller for it.

I've been in a few times since they opened and they have earned my loyalty. With star studded starters which specialize in seasonally sourced supplies they make succulent and seasonal dishes like this Shishito with Bonito starter.

Blackened Shishito peppers with Bonito Flakes
The peppers were slightly spicy, but not overpoweringly so. The bonito flakes added just a hint of umami flavor. It's an absolutely tasty dish with an interesting effect. Since the peppers are hot, the rising steam and hot air escaping from the peppers makes the razor thin shavings of Bonito dance in the currents! (look Ma I made a gif!). It's like heat distortions rising from the concrete in summer.

I love love love their starters. There are a few that are always on the menu, Pork Confit, which is basically a nice piece of pork which has been cooked in an oven submerged in fat. (you can also get this on a pizza, the Puerco.) They have had some sort of Pâté each time I have been in, made from various ingredients, from mushrooms to pork liver.

Pork liver Pâté with sweet pickled onions
But let's not beat around the bush. This place is called Grampa's Pizzeria. Lets talk about the pizza. The toppings are AMAZING. The chef certainly knows how to source some of the best ingredients in the area and he prepares them to perfection.

This is probably my favorite pizza on the menu, the Goomba

This is the very essence of a fresh mushroom pizza, taken to a whole new level. Great cheese, great mushrooms, and a garlic cream sauce. I'm a carnivore and I LOVE this pizza.

Another favorite is the Brassacre, I love bacon, I love Brussels sprouts, how could I not love that pizza? The Sprouts acre cut small and get nicely caramelized in the pizza oven. It's finished with a salt grana cheese which brings it all together!

I seriously love their toppings, each pizza is different and wonderful. Well worth the trip.

For me the only downside is the crust. Since these pizzas are made for sharing they are cut into rectangles which means the center of the pizza won't have a handle. Normally this isn't a problem but in the search for the absolute thinnest crust possible, Grampa's strays into the territory of perfectly soggy crust. It's clearly cooked in a very high quality pizza oven, the edges are delicious, crispy and amazing. However once you get into the middle the crust can be a faint soggy whisp covered in the best toppings you have ever tasted on a pizza.

Some people will love this in a pizza, the crust only being a delivery device for cheese and fantastic toppings, but I'm of the old school, the "dough is as important as the rest of the pizza" school.

The only thing I can say is, go try it for yourself. It's worth it.


Grampa's Pizzeria

Cost: $$
Rating: < < < Three slices of pizza.

Grampa's Website

1374 Williamson St.
Madison WI, 53703

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