Pizzeria Vesuvius: 12/21/12

According to the Mayan calendar, it’s the end of the world as we know it. For what the Mayans feel might be our last meal, Date Night goes to a place where fiery volcanos adorn the walls, and a wood-fired oven cooks our pizza. We are at Pizzeria Vesuvius in the Old Fourth Ward. For those not up on your history, Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D., burying the city of Pompei beneath the ash and lava. For the 2000 Italians who died that day, it truly was the end of the world as they knew it.

The end of the world as we know it?

The end of the world as we know it?

We’ll begin tonight’s festivities by saying that this is a really good restaurant in a bad neighborhood. It’s been here a few years, so people must overlook what’s outside for the good food inside. It’s owned by the same people who run P’cheen and Bone Lick BBQ, where Date Night #48 had a good meal a few weeks ago. And for those of you who like mysteries, Vesuvius has a “secret room” in the back. We’ll have more on that later, but first, let’s eat…

On a cold Friday, we park just a few steps from the front door and are greeted warmly by the staff inside. We order what could be our last beers, a New Belgium Snow Day and an Allagash White.

Our last beers, if the world ends tonight.

Our last beers, if the world ends tonight.

The Snow Day is dark and hoppy, like a darker IPA. The Allagash is a much lighter and fruitier offering, but will go good with our meal. You can order your pizza off the menu, or you can order it off the wall.

A sampling of the pizzas you can order.

A sampling of the pizzas you can order.

Or you can make your own with a list of ingredients. No matter which way you do it, your pizza is cooked in this gen-u-ine wood fired oven, imported from Italy.

The Vesuvius of ovens.

The Vesuvius of ovens.

You also must choose between New York style crust or Neapolitan-style. It’s a tough choice, and we decide on two completely different tastes for our pizza.

Bone Lick on the top and Funghi on the bottom.

Bone Lick on the top and Funghi on the bottom.

As a homage to Date Night #48, we choose the Bone Lick BBQ pizza on the NY-style crust. This pizza has pulled pork, BBQ sauce and provolone cheese. The highlight of the pizza is the fried collard greens on the top, which we gleefully pick off with our fingers. The crust is thick and chewy. It’s a good pizza.

The star of tonight’s dinner is the Funghi pizza. We get three different mushrooms on the pizza, portobellas, creminis, and buttons, all topped with goat cheese and white truffle oil. The Neapolitan-style crust is thin and crispy, with just a slight char on it from the wood-fired oven. This pizza really “blows our top”. It’s as good as anything we had at Antico Pizza on Date Night #21, which some feel is the best pizza in Atlanta. Date Night discovers another hidden Atlanta restaurant gem.

A bookcase, or a secret entrance?

A bookcase, or a secret entrance?

Something else we discover is this bookcase. Or is it a door? We aren’t telling, but we will say that Vesuvius has a “secret room” towards the back where you can get fancy bar drinks in a dark, intimate setting. They don’t open until 8PM, and unfortunately Date Night was there too early to find out what really happens behind the bookcase.

The world does not end on our drive home, and we add something extra to tonight’s date.

This should be the last beer you drink before the world ends.

This should be the last beer you drink before the world ends.

It’s a bottle of La Fin du Monde, which translates to “the end of the world” in English. It’s a Canadian Belgian beer from the Unibroue Brewery in Quebec. This 9% beer is so good that it is worthy of being your last beer before the world ends.

If you are reading this, that means that we are all still alive, and Date Night continues until one of those pesky asteroids hits the earth…

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