Monday, September 29, 2014

Lorenzo's

106 Main St.
Desoto, Mo.
On the web
Facebook


A few days ago on a certain social media site, someone in one of the county groups I follow, said they were moving to Desoto and wanted to know about restaurants there that other members could recommend. Lorenzo's jumped into my head immediately, but when I was about to comment, I noticed that several other people already had, more so than any other place.
There are some fine eateries in and around Desoto, but it was this place that I thought of first.
Coincidentally, when Angel came up with a list of two or three places for this outing, I chose Lorenzo's.
The Place:
It sits on Main street, across form the tracks. On the other side of the tracks, sure enough, property values drop.
Main street is old style, mid 20th century, small town brick store fronts. It even still has an old-school movie theater.
Lorenzo's sits adjacent to a vacant spot, where they've set up a patio. They're known to frequently get a projector and show ballgames on the wall of the next building.
It was a nice, some would say perfect, evening for sitting outside, but we didn't. We went in and were led to a booth pretty close to the last booth we sat at.
Charlotte brought us some menus and asked about drinks. Lorenzo's serves many, many beers and wines, so we got unsweet tea, sweet tea and Coke.
I like wine. I'm okay with beer. My problem with beer is that it is too filling to have with a meal. My problem with wine is snobs. If I had wine with my meal I'd have to rate it, and that is very hard to do without it coming to fisticuffs between myself, a simple man with simple tastes, and the snobs. They're a violent bunch and not as dainty as you might imagine.

The Food:
"I don't think I want pizza." Angel had declared. I kind of did. They serve a little nine incher at a very
reasonable price, $6.35 with up to six toppings. That's a lot of toppings. And they have some good ones. The standards, of course, but they also have 'gourmet toppings' including, from their website:
Anchovies, Artichoke Hearts, Basil Pesto, Capicolla Ham, Fresh Mozzarella, Fresh Spinach, Goat Cheese crumbles, Gorgonzola Cheese, Grilled Chicken, Meatball, Minced Garlic, Prosciutto di Parma, Ricotta Cheese, Shrimp, Volpi Salami.
Yeah. . . I know.
They also have a selection of sauces and cheeses.
I designed my own.
Traditional sauce, traditional cheese, topped with onions, bell pepper, Italian sausage, bacon, pepperoni and to spice it up a bit, pickled banana peppers.
Adam bought one off the rack, the so-named 'Sicilian', traditional sauce, mozzarella cheese, Italian sausage, pepperoni, Capicolla Ham and fresh basil.
Angel changed her mind. Her pizza was embarrassing. Garlic butter sauce, St. Louis style (Provel) cheese, black olives, mushrooms, sausage, onions, grilled chicken. To me, this didn't sound like pizza at all. Even less so when she informed us that she almost added artichokes. Seriously, artichoke. . . on a pizza. . . embarrassing.
Of course, the forgone conclusion, for an appetizer we were unanimous in wanting the deep fried cannelloni.
We get this every time. It's Lorenzo's one up of the traditional and generic (in the St. Louis area) fried ravioli. It's better, much better. The appetizer cost more than any of our pizzas, but it was gone in a couple of  minutes. They make their own. . . everything, sauces, sausages, everything there. The blend of meat in these bites is, as I've put it before, buttery in texture and smokey and savory, but not spicy, in taste.
Angel thought they'd been cooked too long, too crispy, Adam and I disagreed, as there is no such thing as too crispy. The signature, house made marinara sauce coated the crispy, buttery bits with a fresh sweetness that you cannot get out of a can.
We waited patiently for the pizzas, they are built to order and should not be rushed. We had our e-devices so we were entertained without actually having to hold conversations with each other. Lorenzo's has wifi, but you have to have the password. I asked for it and was told it was the zip code, which I didn't know, but I do now. So we sat there and privately swiped and tapped. The big-band, Italian-ish crooners filled the room with ambiance. Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Dean Martin, etc.
The pies arrived. None of us has ever been able to eat the whole thing in one sitting, but that's a plus. Two words, 'breakfast pizza'. 
Mine was, by far, the prettiest pie. The bright yellow banana peppers, the green bells, the sauce and the cheese was a delicious looking palette. We all noticed that the pizzas had been sliced in quarters, too large to handle. There were knives along with other cutlery in a Mason jar on the table. Each quarter got sliced in half.
Be prepared though, these things come to you hotter than the surface of Venus (860° F). Do not dive right in, wait for it, wait for it. . .
The crust was thin, not cracker thin, but certainly not thick. It was also very good. Not too yeasty or oregano-y. Just a perfectly simple crust that does not need to be stuffed with anything. I finally did get to bite in and was perfectly satisfied. The banana pepper was a great addition, a new, different taste to the more traditional toppings. The little vinegar-y things were thankfully sparse and thus, did not overwhelm.

Adam's pie was mostly meat, with a sprinkling of
chopped basil to offset the otherwise bland colors. Adam is a pizza professional, capable of making a great pie himself at the place he works. Even though he eschews vegetables, onions, peppers, etc, himself, he respects them, his opinion counted for something. He was quite pleased.
Angel's atrocity was also nice to look at, but wrong, just wrong. No tomato sauce, chunks of chicken, and knowing that it was slathered in Provel 'cheese' rather than mozzarella, as God intended, she bit into it as if it were perfectly normal. Provel, a primary component of St. Louis style, is a blend of cheeses made specifically for the region. I've never cared much for it myself, it comes across as a bit sweet. Sure the texture is great, it doesn't harden as it cools, but for me the taste is one-off. Sure enough, the richness of the cheese had her stop about halfway through. Well, we all stopped about halfway through. The fresh ingredients and sauces
and cheeses make this pizza rich, and very filling.
Charlotte brought us boxes, and the check.
Summary:
 I told Angel that this would be a very difficult review to write. A good story requires conflict. There was none. Zero. The whole experience was pleasant, efficient, relaxed, tasty and just plain good. Okay, the tea was pretty weak, but that's it. Lorenzo makes seriously good pasta dishes and can also toss out an exceptional pizza, one of the best in the county, if not beyond. The price was more than reasonable, an appetizer and three pizzas for thirty four dollars and change. . . three six-topping pizzas! The staff was efficient, precise and experienced, very, very few slip ups in our many visits. The place itself is cozy and 'warm'. Even the music fits the place perfectly. I not only think Lorenzo's makes one of the best pizzas in the area, but on the whole, I'd go so far as to say that it is among the best restaurants as well.
Highly, highly recommended!






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