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San Marzano in Merrick: Margherita gets beat

I'm usually dismayed by non-Italian elements on my

I'm usually dismayed by non-Italian elements on my pizza but was won over by the caprino pie ($14) at San Marzano in Merrick. Drawing on French and California traditions, this surprisingly harmonious assemblage brings together fontina, goat cheese, caramelized onions, shiitake and button mushrooms, garlic and truffle oil. What really puts it over the top is the excellent crust, tender but toothsome and full of good, wheaty flavor. (Credit: Newsday / Erica Marcus)

Decades of serious pizza consumption have taught me that despite the panoply of pizza options, at most serious pizzerias the simple Margherita is hard to beat. Well, last night at San Marzano in Merrick, my pizza assumptions were upended.

We much preferred the Caprino, a surprisingly harmonious assemblage of fontina, goat cheese, caramelized onions, shiitake and button mushrooms, garlic and truffle oil. What really put this pie over the top was the excellent crust, tender but toothsome and full of good wheaty flavor.

The same dough was used to make the wonderful little triangular rolls, fresh from the same wood-burning oven, that came with four terrific meatballs sauced with a spicy mushroom marinara.

As for the Margherita, it had the same great crust, but was curiously devoid of tomatoes. I always appreciate a sparsely topped pizza, but this one seemed to have been barely brushed rather than topped.

San Marzano is at 38 Merrick Ave., Merrick, 516-546-3300.

The Caprino pizza at San Marzano


 

Tags: Merrick , pizza

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