There are few days that go by when I don’t wish for a bite of my old diet from when I lived in Florence. It was a continuous rotation of espresso, pizza, paninis, red wine and pasta. Florence spoiled me. Florence turned me into the passionate, undeniable foodie I am today. Naturally, Florence set my standard for Italian food – which is why I was pleased when I read Stella Barra’s authentic menu. It features just a few appetizers and a small page of red sauce or white sauce based pizzas.
I have a short list of hard and fast rules to live by. One of which is, when burrata is on the menu, you order it. So we did, and it was delicious, as burrata is.
Stella Barra’s burrata – fresh mozzarella infused with cream – was delightful. It was not watery nor was the cream runny, which I preferred. Unlike other burrata I’ve tried, Stella Barra’s was paired with grilled grapes! I was so pleasantly surprised. The black grapes were grilled and drizzled in a balsamic reduction and topped with arugula. The rustic Italian bread tasted how I remember it to taste in Florence, crispy and toasty on the outside, yet soft and bitable in the middle. The bread was the perfect vehicle for enjoying the burrata, grapes and arugula all in one bite. Major burrata points for putting a sweet twist on this savory, dairy dish.
It was also hard to say no to pork meatballs, so we got those as an app too.
I love meat, however meatballs have never been an all time favorite of mine because they usually come over pasta, and personally I’d rather just have the meat. I was glad that Stella Barra agreed with me on this principal. The pork was fresh and spicy and paired well with the simple, not-spicy tomato sauce. The pork was cooked to an enjoyable medium temperature. Three meatballs were more than enough – Michelle and I split one and each took one home! I’m definitely going to slice mine and make a half-homemade meatball sub from the leftovers.
I know everyone’s heard – probably a few too many times from a New Yorker friend – that “Pizza is only good in New York.” I don’t know what’s with those New Yorkers, maybe there’s something in the water. Just because every corner of D.C. isn’t occupied by a pizza shop doesn’t mean our Italian trained chefs can’t make a good pie. Stella Barra confirmed this notion with its Thin Sin, and my favorite, the Spicy Salumi & Burrata.
Thin Sin Pizza
We opted for a build your own thin crust pizza because we wanted to compare the thin crust to the traditional.
We topped the original cheese with roasted garlic, arugula and prosciutto. The sauce was great. We both liked that the thin sin wasn’t heavily topped with cheese because the thin crust definitely couldn’t handle many toppings. I appreciated that this pie was cut in even smaller pieces to make it easier to enjoy each slice. As you’d expect, this crust was crispier and had some burnt edges. While we liked this one, we knew it was going to come in second when they brought out the spicy salumi and burrata pizza.
Spicy Salumi & Burrata Pizza
“It looks super saucy and super cheesy, I’m into it” said Michelle as they placed the pizza down. It was in fact all those things. There was an even level of heat throughout the sauce and an added kick from the spicy salumi and chili pepper flakes. The whipped burrata, carefully dolloped one on each slice, was the perfect match for the heat packed into every piece. This was one of my favorite pizzas – ever. Thank you Stella Barra for fixing my nostalgia for an authentic spicy pizza. I’ll be coming here (often) when I get a big craving.
Sea Salt, Chocolate Chunk & Bacon Cookie
The name pretty much says it all. But then it gets better. The cookie is served fresh out of the oven and topped with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. I loved that the bacon was a topping rather than baked into the dough. The melted chocolate was perfect. The sea salt chunks were a bit big and made for some incredibly salty bites with the bacon. I’d suggest a little less sea salt, and preparing the bacon to order next time. None the less, a salty chocolatey cookie with a scoop of ice cream had me smiling and a little bit too full at the end of the meal.
*There was also a chocolate chunk cookie topped with homemade ricy krispy treats and a chocolate chunk cookie topped with homemade mini brownies. Dessert people rejoice.