Nomad Pizza

By Phyllis Stein-Novack
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 7 | Posted Jun. 7, 2012

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Nomad Pizza started as a pizza truck, which continues to serve the region, but opened its second location four months ago in Bella Vista.

Photo by Greg Bezanis

Several weeks ago, as we were driving home from the Italian Market, I spotted Nomad Pizza, a very casual family-oriented place on the site of Horizons, the vegan restaurant that morphed into Vedge on Locust Street. I pulled out my notebook and added it to the restaurant review list.

Pizza arrived in America from Naples in the early years after World War II. Evidently, GIs loved it. Someone was smart enough to open a pizza shop somewhere on our shores.

Regular readers of my column know I love Santucci Square Pizza, the crisp pies from SliCE and the wild mushroom pie at Zavino Wine Bar Pizzeria. I looked forward to grading Nomad’s offering.

If you are looking for a real family pizzeria, Nomad is for you. It is a bi-level spot with long tables and comfortable chairs. It reminded me of the dining hall at Camp Green Lane without the bug juice.

Sandy, Edward and I were lucky to snag the last three seats downstairs as a large party just arrived and took over the upstairs.

The menu is simple: Pizza, salad and dessert. Nomad has a license to sell wine and beer. Nothing goes better with pizza than an ice cold brew on a warm, late spring evening.

Allagash White ($5.50) was on tap along with Yards Philadelphia Pale Ale ($5). A couple of a certain age was eating a spicy sopressata pie with knives and forks.

Caesar salad ($10) was one of the best versions in town. It consisted of two jumbo hearts of fresh, crisp organic romaine, halved and topped with homemade Caesar dressing; crisp flat, oven-baked croutons; whole anchovies; and shards of organic Parmesan. We divvied it up and polished it off with ease.

Roasted root vegetable salad ($10) was an inspiring choice. Beet salads are everywhere. This version got high marks. It consisted of red beets and candy beets along with baby carrots, which were roasted in Nomad’s wood-burning oven. The roots sat upon a bed of pea greens, which were sautéed in garlic and finished in the perfect touch of balsamic reduction. Tangy bits of goat cheese enhanced by garlic and chives put this gem over the top.

The crust on Nomad’s pizza has a puffy look to it. We sampled quattro formaggi ($15) and shiitake mushroom ($16).

The first pie was prepared with imported mozzarella di bufala, grand cru, caciocavallo and organic Parmesan topped with sweet juicy caramelized onions, a hint of basil, garlic, sea salt and black pepper. The combination of flavors in this pie was tops with us.

Next up was the mushroom pie also prepared with imported mozzarella di bufala, as well as Cherry Grove toma cheese, heady shiitake mushrooms, caramelized onions, organic garlic, drizzled with organic olive oil. We found parts of the bottom crust to be a bit soggy, but we liked the thin crust. Because you sit with strangers, you cannot help but speak with them. A couple next to us gave us a slice of Margherita pie for a slice of our mushroom pie. The homemade tomato sauce was light and refreshing and did not overpower the cheese and basil.

I should mention Nomad provides a pizza wheel to allow customers to divide up their pies. I’m not sure this is a good thing. Someone could mangle the dinner.

A new couple joined our table. The woman forgot her glasses so her husband read the menu to her in a booming voice. She looked familiar and as soon as I heard her husband call her Betty, I knew it was Betty Kaplan who works in the demo kitchen at the Reading Terminal Market. The five of us had a good chat and she did not blow my cover.

Tiramisu ($6) with three forks ended our delightful evening.

Service was as good as it gets. The staff was friendly and watched the tables. Clean plates arrived with each course.

I enjoyed my visit to Nomad Pizza. It was like summer camp and it is the perfect place for a child’s birthday bash.

Two-and-a-half tips of the toque to Nomad Pizza.

Nomad Pizza

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Comments 1 - 7 of 7
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1. Anonymous said... on Jun 7, 2012 at 07:26AM

“This review is all over the place. It's like reading an elementary school essay. You jump from topic to topic with no clear vision.

"Allagash White ($5.50) was on tap along with Yards Philadelphia Pale Ale ($5). A couple of a certain age was eating a spicy sopressata pie with knives and forks." what does the beer have to do with a random couple?!

Phyllis it's time for you to retire and have them get someone who knows a thing or two about writing, let alone food. BOOOOOO”

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2. Marty Medals said... on Jun 7, 2012 at 08:54AM

“This place at one time was called "Franks".

" imported mozzarella di bufala, as well as Cherry Grove toma cheese, heady shiitake mushrooms, caramelized onions, organic garlic, drizzled with organic olive oil", how does she know without looking at the kitchen and "blowing her cover"?

I prefer thin Pizza from Slice made with cheese from Claudio's on ninth street. Those in the know drink red wine with fresh Pizza.”

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3. MG said... on Jun 7, 2012 at 12:09PM

“Marty Medals - one knows because it's written on the menu. Any time Phyllis starts talking ingredients I check menus online - it's always the same - she gets the ingredients from the description on the menus:

I agree that wine goes with pizza, not beer. Though as I child I often liked root beer with a plain slice!

Anonymous - I agree with your comment about the random couple. I don't like these random factoids in the reviews.

But, at least this is a restaurant that I would actually go to because of it's location!”

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4. Phyllis Stein-Novack said... on Jun 7, 2012 at 12:23PM

“Dear Readers:

Responsible restaurant critics always check and double check ingredients from the menu.

Pizza and beer is just my preference although I also enjoy a glass of dry red wine with a good pie.

My reviews are more than the curtains are green, the linen is white. I am a journalist. Journalists are gypsy story tellers who go from place to place telling stories. the late Don Hewett, who created "60 Minutes" always told his reporters "tell me a story." That's what I do. I have a cast of characters who add much to my reviews. Patrons are ambience. Jason Epstein who wrote for The New York Times did the same. The food, however, is the star. Always.”

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5. Anonymous said... on Jun 7, 2012 at 01:36PM

“Come on now Phyllis, you're scared someone will "blow my cover" ? We all know you are not anonymous when you go out to eat. I've been at restaurants when you've been there and you don't make a secret of who you are, you love the special treatment you get when you're out and will punish a place that doesn't give it to you. Why do you continue to go out of your way to lie to us and attempt to convince us that you're a totally objective anonymous reviewer?

Maybe it's because your readers are the type of dullards who post comments like "Those in the know drink red wine with fresh Pizza." and you think it's easy to put one over on the person who wrote that? I wouldn't blame you for that exactly, but if you would come clean about the actual review process you go through I might actually read you for something other than comic relief.”

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6. Anonymous said... on Jun 7, 2012 at 01:40PM

“My apologies to Marty Medals, I'm sure he or she is not a dullard. However, the idea that "Those in the know drink red wine with fresh Pizza." is idiotic. People should drink what they like with pizza.”

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7. Edward said... on Jun 7, 2012 at 08:00PM

“Marty is a Medalist as far as I'm concerned. Anybody who brings up drinking here is a medalist. Anybody who buys me a drink is a gold medalist. Har har!

The only time Marty disappointed me was when he plugged the Broad Street Diner. I went there Tuesday and guess what: no liquor license. Booo!”


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