…when I found a pizzeria in the Number Four spot on Trip Advisor’s list of best restaurants in Las Cruces, NM. And imagine my surprise when I found these magic words written on the menu: “Due to the extreme temperatures in our oven, the crust will take on a charred appearance – this is the sign of a correctly baked pizza and should not be thought of as burned…” This we need to check out—Zeffiro Pizzeria Napoletana.
As Ebert explains, “I…fell in love with bread when traveling in France and Italy—so much so that in 1991 I quit my Law practice and attended the International Baking & Pastry Institute at Johnson and Wales University, graduating in 1993 with a degree in Baking and Pastry Arts.
“I also developed a strong interest and passion for traditional Naples style pizza. Real Naples style pizza crust requires the same attention to detail and craftsmanship as artisan breads, so it seemed natural to combine an artisan bread bakery in conjunction with a traditional pizzeria. Thus, the decision to launch the Popular Artisan Bread Bakery and Zeffiro Pizzeria Napoletana.
The name selected by a business should reflect the philosophy and underlying commitment of the business. We chose the name ‘Zeffiro’ for the pizzeria based upon one of its meanings in Italian—‘something of fine value’ to reflect our commitment to serving the finest Neopolitan style pizza possible” (popular-zeffiro.com).
At Zeffiro we bring the same care to our pizza dough that we do to our Artisan Breads. Our dough is made from only four ingredients: flour, water, salt and yeast. The dough receives a lengthy fermentation over 24 hours giving a flavor and complexity of texture that is impossible to achieve with modern day shortcuts. Our dough is made daily and is never frozen—as a result, some days we may simply run out of dough…” (popular-zeffiro.com)
While the menu includes salads, pastas, and sandwiches, the primary focus is on the pizza. And the menu offers a number of intriguing choices: the Rustica with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, fresh mushrooms, sliced black olives, and fresh rosemary; the Pesto Bianco with basil pesto, mozzarella cheese, Parmigiano cheese, and garlic; Lemon/Asparagus with olive oil, garlic, mozzarella cheese, paper-thin sliced fresh lemons, fresh asparagus spears and red onions with prosciutto and pecorino Romano cheese added after baking; Potato Rosemary with thin sliced Yukon Gold potatoes, fresh rosemary, feta cheese, prosciutto, olive oil, and garlic; and more.
The crust was excellent—thin, but flavorful, like fine bread. The sauce was light and not sweet. And the pie held just the right amount of cheese.
We finished the Margherita and were ready to order our second pizza. And here I should note that not all pizzerias are so accommodating. They want you to order and get out. They need to turn those tables so want to speed you on your way. Anyway, we debated between another Margherita with the addition of Italian sausage or the Prosciutto (tomato Sauce, mozzarella cheese, basil, and prosciutto) and finally went with the latter.
What a surprise Zeffiro’s proved to be. My advice to the Ebert’s—open a pizzeria in Albuquerque, where there is a desperate need.
And our rating—5.0 Addies, of course.
To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.