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Edible South Florida Summer 2013 : Page29

Kings County Pizza GRANDMA STYLE Kings County Pizza doesn’t have a fancy pedigree. It doesn’t have a well-known chef. It doesn’t have a certification from Neapolitan authorities. It doesn’t have strict rules. It doesn’t have a shiny tiled wood-burning oven. And it proves that you need precisely none of those things to make great pizza. In fact, Kings County, on a sleepy stretch of West Dixie Highway in North Miami Beach, barely even has a dining room where you can sit and eat your pizza if you’re not taking it home with you. There’s not much atmosphere, but it’ll do, especially if you’re just popping in to grab a slice of their classic New York style thin-crust pizzas. If you can plan ahead, though, the thing to do is to call in an order for the “grandma” pie, a rarity not often found around these parts. A “grandma” pizza is a rectangular pie similar to a Sicilian pizza – but where a Sicilian pizza is puffy and doughy, a “grandma” pizza is stretched rather thin before Kings County Pizza 18228 W Dixie Highway the dough is pressed into an oil-brushed sheet pan. It’s then given a thin but thorough blanket of shredded North Miami Beach mozzarella cheese, and dollops of a chunky, garlicky, 305-792-9455 faintly sweet marinara sauce before it goes into the oven. It comes out beautifully golden and crisp all around the edges, with a tender, chewy layer of dough between the outer extremities and the toppings. It may look like the pizza from your middle school cafeteria – do not be fooled. This is a classic example of the powerful alchemy of dough, cheese, tomato and heat. Robert Rodriguez Pizzeria Oceano ICONOCLASTIC STYLE Pizzeria Oceano seems to get a lot of attention for what it doesn’t do: no take-out, no substitutions, no more pizzas after the batch of dough prepared for each night runs out. Chef/owner Dak Kerprich doesn’t say “no” just to be difficult. These rules are all the by-product of a singular vision: to make great pizza, without compromises. He doesn’t do take-out because the pizzas aren’t nearly as good when they’re not fresh from the oven. He doesn’t do substitutions because a lot of care and attention has been put into the two or three “composed” pies listed on a short menu that changes every day (you can, if you insist, get their “basic” pie and choose from among a few ;8M@;&#17;IFJ<E;FI= toppings). He doesn’t make a new batch of pizza dough when he runs out because a crust this good needs a long, slow fermentation. So arrive early, take a seat on the patio strung with twinkle-lights, or inside at the dimly lit counter in the bungalow that houses Oceano’s wood-burning oven, and trust that something good is in store. Oceano sources extensively from local farmers and fisherman, but stretches its geographical range to include artisanal products like Virginia country ham and unique imported cheeses. So you may find a “Country Ham and Egg” pizza topped with farm fresh eggs, country ham, creamy fontina and sharp pecorino romano cheese, dotted with green onions and black pepper. Or maybe a “Red Shrimp” pizza with local royal red shrimp, shallots, mozzarella, ricotta, chili oil, lemon and nepitella (an Italian mint variety). Though the compositions change from day to day, what they always have in common is impeccable ingredients, exciting flavors and a thin, flavorful crust with a great balance of chewy, blistered and charred. The combinations are as unconventional as Oceano’s approach to customer service. And if you’re as passionate about pizza as Kerprich is, you’ll appreciate both. Pizzeria Oceano ought to get more attention for what it does: it makes some of the best, most interesting pizzas you will find in South Florida. Pizzeria Oceano 201 East Ocean Avenue Lantana 561-429-5550 edible ∙ summer 2013 ∙ +2

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