Friday, March 25, 2011

I Know. . .

what you are asking yourselves? Isn’t it time for another boring blog about pizza? You’re right and here it is.

On our last trip to the Lafayette area, we paid a couple of visits to The Pizza Palace in Scott. But the most recent internet reviews of this place were less than complimentary. Fortunately, the RV park’s head manager mentioned a new place—Rochetto’s—just one exit down I-10.

“Behind every locally owned and operated business lies a story. Rochetto’s is no different. The tale begins in 1999 with the birth of a local favorite: Fezzo’s Seafood, Steakhouse and Oyster Bar in Crowley. Three friends and entrepreneurs set out on a mission to provide southwest Louisiana with a menu of palate pleasers and classic Cajun specials…and shortly after duplicated…opening a second Fezzo’s in Scott…Phil, Pat and Jessica couldn’t stop there and with no sign of slowing, the trio teamed up with Brady Benton whose love of specialty pizza and Italian cuisine was a perfect catalyst” (from the restaurant’s web site).

Both restaurants—Fezzo’s (French) and Rochetto’s (Italian)—are named for Phil Faul’s father’s favorite toy, a wooden spool.

You enter into a large bar area with a few high-tops along the divider separating the bar from the main dining room. The dining room is large, square, and high-ceilinged. The décor is sparse with only a few Venice murals and numerous flat-screen TV’s. We could simul-taneously watch ESPN, ESPN News, ESPN 2, and Fox News.

The long menu includes appetizers, salads, sandwiches, wraps, pastas, and desserts along with “build your own” and specialty pizzas in sizes ranging from a personal lunch size to the giant.

If you are having it your way, topping choices include pepperoni, beef, Italian sausage, Italian meat balls, Canadian bacon, apple wood smoked bacon, fresh mushrooms, fresh tomatoes, green bell peppers, red bell peppers, yellow bell peppers, onions, red onions, black olives, green olives, diced jalapenos, roasted garlic, fresh lettuce, and pineapple chunks (YUK). Specialty (this means more expensive) toppings include shrimp, crawfish, crabmeat, alligator, Cajun tasso, chicken, blackened chicken, anchovies, and fresh baby spinach.

Finally, you can choose from their ultra-thin cracker crust or hand tossed crust and you may substitute olive oil, garlic ricotta, alfredo sauce or bar-b-que sauce for the fresh tomato sauce.

I had warned Chuck in advance that were not likely to find a pizza with prosciutto and arugula in these parts, but I was pleased to see that Rochetto’s could, with some tweaks to the menu offerings, produce a white Margherita. What the menu called the Italian Classic came with fresh Roma tomatoes, fresh basil, and buffalo mozzarella cheese over the house tomato sauce. What if we substituted olive oil for the tomato sauce and added roasted garlic? And what size? The giant, of course.

We placed our order and our server explained that, since everything is assembled when the order is placed, it might take as long as a half an hour for us to wait. No problem. Our dance card was free for the rest of the afternoon.

After about the predicted half an hour, this gargantuan pizza comes forth from the kitchen. As advertised, the crust resembled a saltine cracker. Some don’t care for this style crust, since you miss the yeasty bread flavor of a hand tossed. But to me the crust is merely the way to get the toppings to your mouth and a traditional crust is often too filling.

This behemoth came topped with slices of ripe Roma tomatoes, creamy mozzarella cheese, basil chiffanade applied after the pizza came out of the oven, and a gardens worth of roasted garlic cloves. Now Chuck elected to remove the whole cloves from his slices and just enjoy the residual garlic flavor. Not me. I left my garlic on the pizza and absconded with the cloves left on his plate. Needless to say, my breath offended for days.

While we were eating, the manager on duty came over to see if everything was OK and told us that everyone in the kitchen remarked on how great our pizza smelled as it came out of the oven. Has no one ever ordered this before?

All in all, this was a good pizza experience. No, Rochetto’s is not a VPN certified pizzeria. No, they don’t offer arugula or prosciutto as topping. But they still satisfied our pizza craving and merit a 4.0 Addie rating.

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