Pizza-makers and their pies, at Pizzeria Fondi.
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I waited six months to enjoy the "ham and cheese" skewers at Pizzeria Fondi, the upscale pie parlor that opened in Gig Harbor's upscale Uptown Center May 30.
When I visited Fondi's Kent Station operation before Christmas, I'd fallen for the appetizer -- prosciutto wrapped around fontina cheese, skewered and grilled until the cured pork was toasty and the mild cheese was mildly gooey, and served with balsamic-goosed greens.
When I visited Fondi's Gig Harbor restaurant on Friday, my appetizer anticipation deflated. "That's an item off an old menu," I was told.
Good thing Pizzeria Fondi makes pretty good pie - the hearth-fired kind that blisters and bubbles and goes down gooey.
Fondi is a three-unit concept from Seattle-based Restaurants Unlimited Inc., known in Tacoma for Stanley and Seaforts and in Seattle for finer restaurants like Palomino and Palisade.
Fondi's atmosphere is stylish, slightly cavernous and a bit boisterous. Warm earth tones soften the vibe, but hard building materials amplify noise. A fire pit warms the outdoor patio. The restaurant seats about 100 people. You order at the counter, take a seat and pay your server at the end.
Pizza is the star of Fondi's menu - 14 varieties, from six-cheese to cheese-less, from pies with chunky tomato sauce to pies with herb-infused olive oil sauce. Twelve-inch pies are $9.95-$12.50. Toppings include all the usual upscale suspects (roasted chicken, prosciutto and arugula, but, alas, no pineapple and Canadian bacon). House-made mozzarella adds luscious freshness to most pies, imported Gorgonzola adds blue-veined funk to others.
I ordered the Pizzaoilo Special, with a base of chunky crushed tomato sauce, caramelized onions, Italian sausage, salami, olives, mushrooms and basil. That's double the number of toppings I usually order, but the pie was assembled Goldilocks-style: not too many toppings, not too few toppings - just right.
While the ends were slightly puffy, the crust was thin enough, made from a finely milled flour that produces crust with character: blistery and crispy, tender and airy in alternating bites.
Fondi features six salads in individual and family-sharing sizes ($4.25-$12.25). My Caesar needed more dressing and less cheese. Appetizers include Tuscan white bean spread with baked flat bread.
If you're over 21 and so inclined, be sure to try Fondi's version of the bellini cocktail. It's traditionally made with Prosecco, the Italian sparkling wine, and white peach puree. Fondi's version uses Prosecco and fresh-fruit sorbet from Shelton's Olympic Mountain. It's like a bubbly float.
The wine list entirely Italian, from $5.50 for a glass of Prosecco to $49.95 for a bottle of Barbaresco.
I'll be back.
Pizzeria Fondi: 4621 Point Fosdick Drive, Building 10, Suite 200, Gig Harbor; 253-851-6666. Hours: Sundays-Thursdays 11 a.m.-10 p.m./ Fridays-Saturdays 11 a.m.-11 p.m.