Sharon Ardiana brought her adored Gialina thin-crust style to the Western Addition...err NoPa...just a tad over six weeks ago. Since her gas-fired ovens mobilized at the pre-opening parties, waits have been lengthy at this no-reservations Italian joint and the buzz has almost always been audible from the side-walked stretch of Divis outside. Now it's time to cull the popular opinion out there in cyberspace and see how things are shaking out on the boards and such.
The Good News: To begin with 7x7 has added Ragazza to its list of "Stuff we Like" calling it a "game-changer" for the hood. Then Frances GM Patrick Tsui told the world he loved it earlier this week: "Sharon Ardiana’s pizzas are crazy awesome. I went twice the first week they opened." And former Yelp "virgin" sonny r., who was so inspired he wrote: "we finished our meal with the nettles pizza suggested by our server... I literally feel asleep thinking about it, dreamt about it and woke up to eat the piece we brought home for breakfast.. the crust, cheese, onions and nettles all worked beautifully together and I cannot wait to go back.." [7x7, ESF, Yelp]
The Pizza News: Virgina Miller of The Perfect Spot finds "Neapolitan-style pizzas are as satisfying as they are at Gialina, blistered and packed with flavor." And FoodNut thinks, "Ragazza serves up very good pizza in an informal atmosphere at reasonable prices. We still like their sister restaurant Gialina better, but you won’t go wrong eating here." Chowhounder Dave.Pitinga adds "We had a great bacon-aragula-heirloom tomato pizza (think BLT without the mayo) tonight at Ragazza. I like the pie here better than Gialina's." [Perfect Spot, FoodNut, Chowhound]
The Dessert News: FoodNut has a favorite: "ricotta Cheesecake w/figs ($7) had smooth fresh whipped cream on top and proved to be extremely yummy. Clearly homemade and not pulled from a box. The molasses covered fig didn’t really sync to the dessert." Although ChowFun-derek thought "this version was way too grainy." Dave.Pitinga says "They nailed it this time. It reminded me of the fluffy ricotta they used to make in-house at SPQR when Nate Appleman was still helming the kitchen there." [FoodNut, Chowhound]
The Service News: Yelper Francisco G. identified a bad egg: "The only reason I haven't given five stars is that one of the servers was simply unprofessional. We interacted with four staffers in total, and three made good impressions. But one of them brought out one of our dishes and, seeing that some other plates would have to be moved before she could set it down, held it over our table without saying a word." FoodNut sums it up, thusly: Ragazza had adequate service that was pretty cold until a good tip was desired. Hopefully this will improve with time. [Yelp, FoodNut]
The Bad News: From Yelper jon b. "Sad! I love Gialina - but my experience at Ragazza bordered on terrible. Everything was over-seasoned, and the pizzas were WAY over-cooked. They were like flatbread crackers - crunchy, dry, salty... terrible. I'm hoping it was an off night....so I'll give it a 2nd chance in the near future." [Yelp]
The Besides-the-Pizza News: Yelper Francisco G. says, "For antipasti we ordered the oven roasted sardines and the mozzarella/prosciutto/tomato-corn salad. Both were perfectly executed and beautifully presented. And Ms. Miller felt, "on the antipasti front, Oven-Roasted Local Sardines ($9) with Sicilian stuffing inside are fresh, delicate and enhanced by breadcrumbs. The Renaissance Man complained of too much aioli drenched on top, drowning out the taste of the fish, but I got enough of the fish’s fresh silkiness." [Yelp, Perfect Spot]
That's all folks. Please do digest the above and tell us what you think is right on or totally off here at Eater HQ or below in the comments.
All Previous Ragazza Coverage [~ ESF ~]
[Photo: Naseema Khan]