If a new pizzeria opened anywhere in the Las Vegas Valley serving one specific style of super-delicious pizza, I’d eat it and write about it here. I believe we all love pizza, and I don’t think I’m overestimating your interest in outstanding pies and slices.
That said, I’m trying to decide how much we should all freak out about Pizza Rock, which has not one, but eight different, specific styles of super-delicious pizza. If the only thing on the menu was the tomato pie ($21), a crisp 16-inch beauty cooked in an electric brick oven with a three-tomato blend, sliced mozzarella, shreds of fresh basil, oregano, olive oil and garlic, I would still be in love with this place. But the tomato pie is just one of four New York/New Haven pizzas on the menu, so now we have to fight over ordering it again or trying different toppings on this almost-crunchy, wonderfully charred crust—like bacon, clams, roasted garlic, mozzarella and pecorino.
And those New York pies are just one small section of the menu, culled from the mind of Bay Area-based Tony Gemignani. His classic margherita Napoletana earned him the title of first American to win the World Pizza Cup in Naples, Italy, something those Neapolitans were not happy about. But it makes me happy. Pizza Rock makes only 73 of these each day—hand-mixing the dough made with San Felice flour; proofing the dough in wood boxes to remove moisture; adding only tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, olive oil and sea salt; and then giving them 90 seconds in the 900-degree wood-burning oven. A study in the beauty of simplicity, these pies are on par with the best Neapolitans in town, your Settebellos and Due Fornis and D.O.C.G.s and Novecentos.
There’s so much more. I’m obsessed with the Chicago cracker-thin, another thin-crust pizza with significantly different flavor thanks to rare Ceresota flour, plenty of corn meal and a liberal crispifying scorch from the oven. The Frank Nitti ($21) is an utterly satisfying meatless pizza, crowned with spinach and ricotta. Or opt for the Old Chicago ($22) and its savory sliced meatballs. If you’ve got a hungry group, Pizza Rock’s huge, deep-dish Sicilians can handle your needs in flavorful style, thanks to a hearty-yet-light, buttery focaccia crust. Get the Boss ($32), loaded with salami, bacon, pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, bell peppers, black olives and cherry tomatoes.
There are gluten-free pizzas, Roman pizzas with three different sets of toppings on one pie, California-style pizzas with honey and piave cheese, and New York slices as big as your head dotted with those little pepperoni coins that curl slightly when cooked.
This is the pizzeria of a pizza nerd’s dreams, and we’re all pizza nerds. Adding to the experience is a classic, easygoing bar-and-grill setting with a lot of energy and a totally respectable beer and wine list and cocktail menu. Once you’ve checked off all the interesting pizzas you need to try, work your way through sandwiches, house-made fresh pastas, and sides of wood-fired asparagus or deep-fried artichokes. Clearly, Pizza Rock is built to be a place where you keep coming back. It’s already got me hooked.
Pizza Rock 201 N. Third St., 385-0838. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-midnight; Friday & Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 a.m.