Restaurant Review: Nomad Roman Pizza

After Little B was born, everyone told us that the newborn stage was the best time to take a child to a restaurant. This is why most of our Saturday outings now revolve around lunch or brunch. For now, Little B will generally sleep for at least an hour or two after she has been fed and settled in her car seat/stroller, which gives us plenty of time to enjoy a meal and a walk around the city.

We stick to casual places (B has been to Sabrina’s so many times that she already has a regular table) and try to go when it’s not too crowded (i.e. early in the day), just in case B decides to have a meltdown. When it was warmer, we sought out places with outdoor seating; it’s just a lot easier when you don’t have to steer a bulky car seat/stroller combination through narrow restaurant aisles.

This past Saturday was a bit too cold for dining al fresco, so we decided to check out Nomad Roman Pizza in Midtown Village. I have been on the hunt for a pizza like those that I fell in love with on my first trip to Rome nine years ago, so I was hoping that this much closer to home location would fit the bill.

Nomad Roman is the second Philadelphia restaurant from the team behind the Nomad Pizza truck. Its focus on hand rolled, thin-crust style pizza sets it apart from other restaurants in the a neighborhood that specialize in the thicker Neopolitan style.

The menu consists of twelve kinds of pizza that run the gamut from traditional (such as the Margherita to fancy (like the Truffle Pecorino). Each one is made to order in a copper faced, wood-fired brick oven, using ingredients from local farms.

Our server noted that each pizza generally serves one person, but that one could be sufficient for both of us if we also opted to order a salad. Since the salads sounded pretty basic (house, Caesar, arugula, etc.) we decided each order a pizza so that we could sample both the red and white varieties.

In terms of style, Nomad hits the nail on the head. The crust was thin and crispy and the center of the dough was paper thin. Somehow though, it managed to stand up to the ample amount of toppings that went all the way to the edge of the crust. The red sauce on my arugula pizza struck the perfect balance between sweet and acidic. Chester’s Truffle Pecorino pizza was quite rich, due in part of the perfectly poached egg that oozed over the entire pie.

nomad roman pizza

The only thing that was a bit different was that the server sliced the pies as they were delivered to the table, whereas pizzerias in Rome serve pies unsliced and they are eaten with a knife and fork. In this case, though, I was happy to be able to eat with one hand, as Little B woke up from her nap and I ended up holding her in my other arm throughout lunch.

b pizza

Pizzas ranges in price from $11 to $19. This is a bit more expensive than other restaurants in the area (such as Barbuzzo and Zavino) that have pizza on the menu, but the pies are a bit larger and the ingredients, although very simple for the most part, are of the highest quality. Homemade dark chocolate from Nomad’s Hopewell, NJ location was a welcome surprise at the end of the meal.

Although nothing can replace the experience of enjoying pizza in Rome itself, Nomad’s pies come pretty close to replicating the flavors of one of my favorite cities. I’m glad to have it close by, because it might be awhile before I make it to Italy again!

Lately: A Restaurant Roundup

I’m in a weird mood lately.

I’m tired and bored. But, strangely, I’m incredibly antsy at the same time. I can’t really seem to focus enough to get myself interested in anything. I’m going to call it a summer slump and I’m hoping that I will snap the heck out of it. Soon.

In the hopes of getting myself back on track, I present to you a round-up of all of the places I’ve  eaten recently, but haven’t gotten around to blogging about:

Zinc: This French bistro near Jefferson Hospital wasn’t really on my radar screen, but Chester and I decided to try it out before our last show of the season at the Walnut Street Theater a few weeks back and were pleasantly surprised by how good it was. I had a tasty salad with asparagus, poached egg, bits of crispy bacon and hollandaise sauce—kind of like breakfast for dinner—and a perfectly medium rare tuna dish. It’s the sister restaurant of Caribou Café, which I would also recommend for more casual fare or a light lunch.

Zama: When our friends from Chicago, Kristin and Scott, came to visit us for a long weekend and Kristin and I sent the boys off to a Phillies game and we had a spa/sushi evening. The menu at Zama, located in Rittenhouse Square, features more than 30 a la carte sashimi, as well as a variety of maki rolls. I couldn’t decide, so I got a sushi and maki combination, which included one of the best spicy tuna rolls I’ve ever had. Kristin got a roll that was a play on a Philly cheesesteak, featuring Japanese beef and provolone with spicy mayo and bibb lettuce wrapped in red pepper flaked soy paper. It’s a little pricier than the average sushi bar in the city, but the ingredients are definitely of such a high quality, so I would say that  it’s worth it!

Hundred Acres: Bridget came to spend two weeks in Philly and we took a fun trip up to New York with our moms and my aunt to see Evita (one of my favorites!). While we were there, we ate lunch at this farm-to-table spot in Soho. The menu changes frequently, but at the time we visited, there was a really nice mix of options for brunch, from pancakes and French toast, to salads and sandwiches. We both enjoyed our grilled cheese, with white cheddar, apple and pecans. The only thing that I didn’t really enjoy was the odd mix of club/semi-hardcore rap music that was playing. Not exactly what you associate with a casual brunch, right?

Zavino: Bridget came to have lunch with me in the city during her visit and we were both in the mood for pizza. I’ve been to this Midtown Village spot a couple of times before and really enjoy the pizzas here—the crust is not too thick, but not too thin either. I like the Kennett (a white pizza with mushrooms) and the ‘Stache (pistachio and pesto, topped with a generous helping of arugula. They get bonus points from me because all the pizzas can be made with a whole wheat crust and they serve their iced tea in Mason jars.

Ralph’s: I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve eaten at Ralph’s, which is located in the Italian Market. It is reported to be the oldest Italian restaurant in the country that has been continuously owned by the same family and the second oldest Italian restaurant in the country. Ralph’s serves traditional, “red-gravy” Italian food. My most recent visit was with Bridget and her family, and we both got what we always get—the manicotti. I’ve tried other things here, but this is my favorite dish. Chester really likes the Linguine Pescatore, with shrimps, clams, mussels and crabmeat. Reservations are a must, because it’s pretty small—you’ll be sharing close personal space with your neighbors. I have to say though, I’m not a huge fan of the service, as it tends to be a bit brusque—bordering on rude. I’ll still keep coming back, though.

New Delhi: This past weekend was a million degrees, so naturally, that’s the best time to eat Indian food, right? Chester and I pulled up to our perennial favorite, Sitar India, only to find it closed (hopefully, it’s just for renovations). So, we headed a few blocks down to one of the other University City Indian buffet spots. Sitar may have some competition when/if it reopens. As much as I love Sitar, it serves the same thing every day, and it seems that New Delhi rotates their items on a daily basis. And, the samosas and the chicken tikka masala at New Delhi may be just a little bit more flavorful. Plus, they have gulub jaman for dessert.

FARMiCiA: This is a solid Sunday brunch option in Old City. It doesn’t have the over-the-top dishes or long lines of Sabrina’s or Green Eggs. It’s just good, normal eggs, pancakes, and French toast, with a few other more fun options like breakfast quesadillas and cheddar grits thrown in. I enjoyed my crab omelette, which was bursting with a flavorful crabmeat, spinach, mushrooms and tomatoes. And, because it’s owned by the same folks that own Metropolitan Bakery, so the carb products are pretty outstanding. Now that I think about it, I should have gotten some granola because Metropolitan’s granola is the best (even though it’s probably like $10 per bag at this point). Next time. The service was a little slow, but the staff was super friendly—even to the guy next to us who was being a tool and wanted to order the steak and eggs with bacon and sausage instead of steak, over easy eggs instead of scrambled, and a side of spinach instead of potatoes. Right…

So, if you were worried that my summer slump was affecting my eating habits, never fear. It would seem that that’s the only thing I’ve been doing.

Is anyone else in a summer slump? What are you doing to cope with it?