Cotto Enoteca PizzeriaPosted: 11/21/2012
Of the many thoughts running through my head when I drive down Hastings Street, two are relevant to this post: first, “Oh hey, what happened to Anducci’s?”, and second, “I’m really craving some pizza”. Well, it turns out the Anducci’s on Hastings and Fell has closed its doors, and a new, rather upscale looking pizza joint has replaced it– Cotto Pizzeria.
Samson and I decided to make a visit there after work one day, since it’s so close to the skating rink. We parked on one of the side streets before realizing that the lot landmarked by the run-down ex-Subway building was actually a parking lot for the pizzeria. Oh well, it wasn’t raining (yet). We were greeted by a few hostesses at the front of the glitzy, busy restaurant, who sat us at a table near the bar (which boasted a pretty large wine collection).
We started our night with two glasses of wine from their Freshtap system– for Samson, a glass of Blasted Church Big Bang ($7.50), a red wine blend from BC, and for myself, a glass of Casa Bianco ($5), a pinot bianco-trebbiano blend from Italy. We thought that the pricing was pretty reasonable, and for me especially. It was a good way to try some wines, since it’s not like we were going to a winery anytime soon. Samson felt that his glass was lightly spicy, but didn’t have a very full body, which he didn’t mind, but he probably wouldn’t order it again. As for me… well I’m no wine connoisseur, so all I can say was that the wine was crisp and pleasant to sip at, with a bit of a citrus note. I don’t know if I’d order it again, however, since there are so many wines one can try… this one didn’t really stand out from the others that I’ve had.
I have to say, the Bread our extremely attentive waitress brought over was some of the best I’ve had, even though it wasn’t served warm. The outside was just crusty enough to emit a nice crunch when you bite into it, but didn’t explode into a pile of crumbs on the table; nor did it hurt the top of my mouth. The inside was chewy and pillowy soft at the same time, and it went pretty well with the dip they gave us (I think it was some sort of hummus with truffle oil). On the side of each table are bottles of olive oil, one infused with rosemary and garlic, and the other… well, we’re not too sure about the other one, because it just tasted oily. I’m guessing it’s supposed to be some kind of pepper, since it’s red. We obviously liked the rosemary/garlic one more, and I definitely enjoyed dipping my bread into it (the only problem is that the bottles are a bit leaky).
Good bread is often a sign of good things to come, and that it did, in the Fior di Latte ($8), which comes with your choice of ingredients–we chose Prosciutto San Danielle and Roma Tomatoes, but there’s also the choice of Roasted Crema di Balsamico and Eggplant Caponata, Cauliflower and Salsa Verde (I know about half the words in those two ingredient descriptions). We were expecting the portion size to be bigger since it cost $8, but the ingredients and presentation were superb, so I guess it justifies it a little. The fior di latte was very, very light, and was salted just a tiny bit for added flavour; it paired well with the fatty prosciutto, whereas the balsamic roma tomatoes helped offset the fattiness. I would want to order this again since it tasted so great, but the price is holding me back a little.
We also shared a half order of their Canneloni Spinaci ($12 half, $22 full) which was a little different than what I expected. Instead of the thicker, denser noodle I usually imagine as the wrapper, this was a thinner, eggier noodle, reminiscent in ways of a crepe. The ingredients in the middle (spinach, ricotta and marscapone cheese) were pretty standard, if not a wee bit on the bland side (but I like blander tasting things). I’m a little conflicted about my opinion of this dish– while I did enjoy the lighter noodle, which didn’t make me feel extremely bloated, I did wish that there was a little more substance to it, as I was hoping for more. Perhaps their regular-sized portion is a little more filling?
And to the main reason of our visit– the pizza! The restaurant boasts a lovely looking woodfire oven at the front of the restaurant, so OF COURSE you can’t pass up the chance to eat food made from it (and it is a pizza place after all). There were quite a few pizzas to choose from, and we narrowed it down between the Pizza Funghi and the Pizza Cotto (both $15), which included Yukon Gold potatoes, Sloping Hill pancetta, fried Brussel sprout leaves, gorgonzola dolce and fonduta (not sure what that last one is). Judging from the picture and the bolded font, I’m sure you could guess that the Pizza Funghi won. The toppings on the pizza we chose included a variety of roasted mushrooms (button, crimini and shitake among others), caramelized onions, goat cheese and chives, which rested on a nicely leoparded crust. I don’t believe I’ve had Neapolitan-style pizza before, but based on other food blogs’ reviews of such dining establishments, I think this one holds up. The crust was thin where there were toppings, but not too thick on the edge, and the ingredients didn’t make the pizza dough soggy or too limp. The mushrooms added a spongey texture (in a good way) to the dish. For the price, I’d say this is a pretty good deal– the pizza is cut into 8 large slices, and I was pretty full by the time I was finishing up the last piece (granted, I did have some pasta and bread).
We had originally wanted a “cheap” meal, so I have no idea why we ended up ordering dessert as well– maybe because I simply couldn’t pass up the delicious sounding combination of Panna Cotta ($8) and lemon curd. The panna cotta was full of vanilla flavour, and the lemon curd was appropriately tart but sweet. The addition of meringue reminded me of my mom’s yummy lemon tarts, and the shortbread complimented it all as only a buttery cookie can. Scrumptious things aside, we felt that this portion was a on the small side, as desserts go–I definitely didn’t want to share this one, and I probably could have gobbled up 3 more as well (I don’t know if that’s a testament to how small it is or how much of a pig I am).
All in all, I did like our visit to Cotto– the atmosphere is nice, catering to different crowds (mid-thirties set, families, couples on dates), and the food was pretty decent, though a little on the pricey side considering the neighbourhood. Since it’s so close to my workplace, I can definitely see myself making a future visit– I’d want to try out some of their other pizzas (the Pizza Cotto does sounds really good), as well as the other wines they stock.
Cotto Enoteca Pizzeria
6011 Hastings Street