I would say that I border on the ‘obsessed’ side of things when it comes to pizza. I’ve taken the time and money to make my own pizza oven at home, I’ve spent countless dollars searching the valley for the best pizza, and I’ve even had my picture on the wall at Ray’s pizza in Scottsdale because I was there every other day. I’m afraid to go look back at my expenses and see what percentage was spent on pizza, but I know it would be substantial. That said, I am still very open to trying all kinds of pizza but my favorite has always been Pizza Napoletana or a more traditional style. ‘Pomo Pizzeria Napoletana in the Scottsdale Borgata serves this style and in my opinion hits all the right notes.
Doing some research on the place before I visited, I found out that pretty much everything at ‘Pomo is straight from Naples even including the oven they cook with. The huge brick oven was transported over from Italy to ‘Pomo in order to maintain that authentic taste and because the ones they could buy here just weren’t good enough. So if they are going through the trouble of shipping an oven, you would expect them to only use authentic ingredients as well. You’d be right. The tomatoes they use are San Marzanos, grown in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius near Naples with a stronger taste than Romas. The cheese is mozzarella di bufala (made from buffalo’s milk instead of cow’s) shipped over from Naples weekly. The list goes on and on, but the point is that you should come to ‘Pomo expecting the best because that is what you will be served.
Arriving at ‘Pomo in their castle shaped building on Friday night, the place was packed and I was worried we were in for a Pizzeria Bianco type wait. After all, this pizza had the promise of stacking up to Bianco so I had anticipated some buzz about the place. However, the wait was only 20 minutes and we were offered drinks while we waited. I think the main reason for the time difference though was due to just sheer size of the place. Compared to Bianco’s small brick house in downtown Phoenix, this place really was a castle. As we waited, we looked around and saw a separate bar where people were sitting in front of some TVs and an espresso machine but had food in front of them. But then, we saw the perfect place to sit right in front of the cooks next to the oven, with only five chairs all facing the kitchen. Jackpot.
The guys working the pizzas were amazing to watch. They had this down to a science and anticipated each other’s moves knowing exactly when to add a topping or slide over to top it with olive oil. During every pizza the master pizzaiolo watched, adjusted or stepped in to add some finishing touches. It was great to also watch how fast these pizzas cooked. The oven gets up to 950 F and one pizza only takes about 60-90 seconds. While we were watching, we ordered bruschetta to start which also goes into the oven. Two large pieces came out loaded with diced tomatoes and I have to say it was pretty good. Nothing too special here, but definitely a good starter that went well with some Birra Moretti.
At last (only about 5 mins after we ordered) our pizzas came out and they had the perfect crispiness with that smoked bottom crust. My friend Jeff (the photographer) decided to go with the Don Alfonso which was a combination of Italian sausage and salami with roasted bell peppers over the usual San Marzano tomatoes and mozzarella. I tried a piece and the first thing I noticed was the sauce. Wow. Something so simple as crushed tomatoes can taste so good when the right ingredients are used, and that pretty much sums up pizza Napoletana for me.
My friend Becky went with the ‘Pomo: Italian sausage, roasted bell peppers, mushrooms and onions over the same sauce and cheese. This pizza was equally as good in my opinion and again the crust was perfect. I decided to order the ‘Parma which had prosciutto, fresh arugula and shaved parmigiano reggiano cheese over the sauce with mozzarella as well. This one was by far the best of the three and very narrowly beat a similar dish at Pizzeria Bianco in my mind. Yes I said it, it beat Bianco! The Parma had a great bite to it from the arugula and the prosciutto was tasty. I’d say it was one of the better meals I’ve had this year.
Overall, ‘Pomo puts most of their focus on the fresh and imported ingredients and it shows through in their pizza. As for the other menu items, they have a selection of salads and paninis that looked good (benefit of sitting in front of the kitchen) and a surprisingly large dessert menu that you can pair with coffee or espresso from the bar. The atmosphere is fun and would be a good place for a date, but come for the pizza at least once.
Tip: Weekends can be busy here but they do take reservations so be sure to plan ahead.
Borgata 6166 N. Scottsdale Rd.