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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Dinner at Vesuvius on Edgewood

My recent visit to P'cheen and a review of Scout Mob's latest half-price offers led me to dinner Thursday night at Pizzeria Vesuvius on Edgewood Avenue. P'cheen's owners bought and remodeled the restaurant about a year ago. Wayne and I had not visited since the change.

We used to eat there pretty frequently. At one point an old friend was among the owners. It was up, down, up, closed for a while, then open again. Meantime, we gravitated to neighboring Noni's.

The P'cheen peeps have improved the look of the space, actually reducing the size of the dining room by maybe a third, creating a more intimate space. While the restaurant was mainly deserted, Thursday night's visit was a bunch of fun.

You may have already read about this, but here's a reminder. The bar has disappeared, or at least at first glance. During our meal we watched two guys pull what looked like a huge door near the restrooms open and disappear. Curious, to say the least, Wayne ran over to check things out and found book shelves (left photo). As he stood there frowning, the bookcase suddenly swung open and someone walked through. Yep, the old bar, remodeled and dubbed the Edgewood Speakeasy, is hidden behind the shelves. There are a few other speakeasy-type bars around town, but to a non-drinker like me, this was a novelty. Word is that the place can get way loud when DJs take over the room.

The rest of the restaurant is generally on the quirky side. After we took our seats, we were...ignored for five or more minutes. Finally, I walked over to the open kitchen and asked what the deal was. The chef apologized, took our drink orders, and pointed at a guy on the phone at the check-in area. "That's the waiter," he said. "He'll be right over." I assume he was taking care of a call-in order.

Shortly thereafter, the server headed our way - and veered by us to the back. The chef brought the drinks over. We continued to look over the menu, featuring antipasti and two types of pizzas, thick-crusted New York- and thin-crusted Neapolitan-style. Wayne decided he wanted the over-loaded New York Supreme, exactly the kind of pizza I dislike. He told me I wanted the Neapolitan-style Fico, topped with prosciutto, fig spread, gorgonzola dolce, baby arugula, and 10-year-aged balsamico. He was so right. (Right photo)

Our server arrived. Yay! He turned out to be such an entertaining character that any objection to his tardiness, for which he apologized, disappeared. At this point Wayne ordered us an $8 starter with oily, duck prosciutto worth quacking about, plus two cheeses, Fontina and Van Gogh (top photo). When the plate arrived, we were shocked. It was huge, with stacks of cheese, a pile of the prosciutto, toasted bread, fig spread, olives, and roasted red peppers. We actually did not finish the whole thing and, believe me, that is a first.

The pizzas arrived. Mine - almost dessert-like, as our server said - was the better, although some might object to the almost crackery crust, lacking the gooey style of most Neapolitan pies. Personally, I like a firmer crust that makes lifting the slices less risky to one's clothing. Wayne's sloppier pie was piled with Italian sausage, pepperoni, bell peppers, kalamatas, creminis, red onion, San Marzano sauce, and a three-cheese blend. Two slices make a meal. I bet it's popular with the Georgia State students who visit the area regularly.

By the way, all of the restaurant's meats, like the duck prosciutto, are from the Spotted Trotter.

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