In our unending quest for the Perfect Pizza we found ourselves at Treno in nearby Westmont last night.
Treno, by the PJW (PJ Welihan's) Restaurant Group is the successor to Kitchen 233 which operated on the same site on Haddon Avenue.
Treno bills itself as a "pizza bar" and advertises pizza, pasta and vino with 30 wines by the glass priced at $5, $7 and $9.
The place is vast and encompasses two spacious bars, two huge rooms and limited parking.
We had to wait awhile as Treno was teeming with customers. Well, the place is new and it was a Friday night. Plus, there were six in our party so we needed a larger table.
We were shown to a cavernous, unadorned area with huge windows, garden style chairs and tables and no soft surfaces. With loud, rather unpleasant music piped in, it was necessary for everyone to raise his or her voice and that simply made it all the more cacophonous. Under these circumstances conversation was difficult at best.
Treno offers a variety of "small plates" including salads. These run from $4 for the meatballs to $11 for the cured meat and cheese plate. We opted for wood oven romaine salad with creamy garlic dressing for $6. The wood fired pizzas are 12 inches (more like a personal pizza) and are priced from $9 for the simple margherita to $12 for the house made sausage and peppers pizza. Pasta runs from $9 to $16.50 depending on the type of pasta ordered and the size of the plate.
Pizzas here are gourmet style and thin-crusted. We enjoyed our margherita pizza but we must note that it was merely warm and not piping hot when it arrived. Also, the middle of the pie was soggy and lacked the crispiness we prefer. An authentic, thin-crusted Italian pizza needs to be hot and crispy. Otherwise, what's the point?
The salad was fine -- warm, with a zesty, creamy, mustard-colored dressing. It was like a Caesar salad hybrid.
Four of us chose a bottle of Dantello pinot griggio which seemed to go well with the rest of the meal.
Is Treno worth another visit? I'm not sure.
It might be fun on a weeknight when it may not be so crowded and noisy. But we asked the waitress if the more cushioned room near the entrance was quieter and she told us it wasn't. And then again there was that loud music.
Pizza, wine, a salad, tax and tip will run you about $60. a couple here.
Is it too much to ask that the pizza be hot and crisp, that there be a warm ambience and that the volume be reasonable?