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During a recent visit to Oakfire Pizzaria in Lake Geneva, Beth Webb—a member of The Gazette’s restaurant review team The Four Dishes—tried something different by ordering the zucchini pizza featuring arugula and pistachio pesto, garlic, olive oil and buffalo mozzarella. An Old Fashioned, also pictured, topped out the meal.

LAKE GENEVA

I recently had the best day! It featured a pleasant, sunshiny drive to Lake Geneva, where I planned to have a drink while I ordered takeout at Oakfire Pizzeria.

The restaurant’s Old Fashioned ($10) was delicious with its nutty hazelnut liquor, rye and cherries. I enjoyed one while perusing the menu.

The menu is not like those found at your typical pizzeria. Pizza Napoletana has a thin, soft center with a soft outer crust. It’s almost elastic, and you don’t pick it up by the slice but instead with a knife and fork. The 12-inch pizza can be prepared in “rossa” fashion with marinara sauce or “bianca” with no tomato sauce. Keep an open mind, but you would likely be disappointed if you want your typical American-style pizza.

I had to try the zucchini pizza ($16) because you just don’t get that option every day. The base was a pesto made from arugula and pistachios. The garlic didn’t overpower, and with the olive oil it was almost buttery. The balls of buffalo mozzarella were gooey, and the zucchini was thinly sliced.

Jennifer was particularly hungry the day we ordered takeout, and she had a hard time deciding what to order because it all sounded fabulous and comforting. In the end, she went with the sausage vodka pappardelle ($18). She knew after the first bite that she had made the right choice.

Pappardelle are long, flat ribbons of egg pasta that are slightly textured; the perfect accompaniment to robust sauces. And robust describes perfectly the spicy vodka sauce and Italian sausage that was used in her dish. Thin strips of fresh basil decorated her plate as well as tomatoes and crispy prosciutto bits on top. She welcomed the prosciutto as it provided crunch and a tad of salt, both of which enhanced the overall taste.

In addition, Jennifer ordered a Napoli salad ($12). It was of ample size with fresh, crisp arugula and a somewhat peppery flavor. Also prevalent were some enormous croutons made from homemade toasted Italian bread and a vibrant, tangy red wine vinaigrette. The salad reminded her of summertime—a welcome thought during these recent subzero temperatures.

Helene’s husband, Bob, got to her pizza before she could review it, so off to Lake Geneva they went.

Lucky for him they arrived in time for happy hour, which runs from 3-6 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Five of Oakfire’s appetizer offerings are available during that time for $5 each, and five of their pizzas are $6 each for the 6-inch size.

Bob and Helene ordered the caprese and the meatballs (each for the $5 happy hour price), and both were lovely.

Three large beef and pork meatballs came in a marinara sauce with three quarter-sized mozzarella rounds. The caprese was a plate of Italy’s primary colors: red tomatoes and slices of white mozzarella cheese all topped with fresh, green basil leaves. A vinaigrette glaze was drizzled over everything, and on the side was a mound of arugula and sliced yellow and red cherry tomatoes. Very tasty and fresh.

Bob and Helene also ordered “half-sized” pizzas for $6 during happy hour. Bob’s margherita pizza had the same ingredients as the caprese appetizer: tomatoes, mozzarella and basil leaves. What stood out was the crust as it was very earthy and similar to a chewy sourdough texture.

Helene enjoyed the portabellas resting on top of the melted mozzarella on her pizza, along with the sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and torn basil leaves. Underneath the mozzarella was a creamy sauce made of sweet red onions and garlic that really lit up the pizza. Savory yet sweet with a chewy crust and a creamy center. The taste and textures were fabulous.

Dessert? Well, I didn’t want the experience to end, so I ordered the hazelnut affogato ($8). The dense and rich vanilla gelato was served with a demitasse espresso that was bitter with a frothy crema and served with a large shot of Frangelico.

Of course, I had to sample all three on their own before pouring the coffee and liquor over the gelato. In the end, I was doing that “mush it all together like a kid” thing, but it was fantastic with all of its modifications.

The Four Dishes—Nikki Bolka, Helene Ramsdell, Jennifer Spangler and Beth Webb—review regional restaurants for The Gazette.

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