I didn’t mean to do it. Eat the entire pizza, that is. All twelve delightful inches.
In my ongoing search for a killer pie, Sonoma’s Red Grape came onto my radar after several BiteClubbers mentioned it. Sadly I’ve always shied away from this off-square eatery in favor of the siren songs of slightly haute-er cuisine. Who wants pizza when you can have foie gras?
Turns out, I was missing what locals have known for quite some time. Red Grape turns out some of the best ‘za east of New Haven. The style is straight up east coast, an impossibly thin cracker crust that’s just sturdy enough for a few toppings, but shatters and crackles as soon as you stuff it into your mouth.
Toppings range from classic clam, margherita and cheese to California-influences like pear, gorgonzola, hazelnut and smoked bacon; shrimp and artichoke or chipotle chicken with caramelized onions and cilantro.
Fired in a gas oven, the pizzas cook in just minutes and come out smoking hot and bubbly. Less chewy and dense than other crusts, it’s all about the toppings, rather than a mouthful of dough. But the magic is fleeting. Once the pizza starts to cool and the crust starts to get soggy, you’re done for. Which is why I strongly recommend eating it in your car, straight from the box, with a lap full of napkins and the windows rolled up. (Keeps in the garlicky essence and drowns out your moans of delight.)
So now you know my shame. But after eating eight slices in a single sitting, I feel that I’ve earned the right to be called (among other things) a happy connoisseur of the Grape’s pear and gorgonzola pie. A czar of their cracker crust. An affectionado of apizza. And very, very full.
The pizza party continues. Check out the original pizza post, if you want to add your. 02.
Red Grape, 529 First St. West, Sonoma, 707.966.4103. Open daily for lunch and dinner.