Friday, May 15, 2009

RACKS is not Italian for 'Boobs'...or is it?

All the action is in front of the pizza oven...

Or out on the waterfront patio...

All the agonizing lately about a code of ethics or some such nonsense for food bloggers/posters on the Internet, made me hungry; and then it made me realize just how much I love Racks (cough, the restaurant). This new Italian place with a great view on theIntracoastal in N. Miami Beach has great pizza It is baked in a domed brick/coal burning oven, and has the perfect crust-charred, a little ash-y, thin/crisp, but also a little chewy on top with that distinct dry coal finish. The oval-shaped pie I had was topped with artisanal sopressata secchi, goat cheese, aged provolone, and San Marzano tomatoes, and cooked just to the exact heat to separately bring out the best in all these high-quality ingredients, while also allowing them to mingle flavors for extra depth. When it is removed from the oven, the pie is then topped with a few hand-gratings of three-year-old Parmigiano-Reggiano, and some Olio Verde. The roof of my mouth is still ripped open the next day, as I could not stop consuming my two slices, right from the oven (which I was reverently standing in front of, naturally) before they cooled even slightly. I was offered one slice by the sweet-talking chef, but I 'mistakenly' ripped off two from the hot pie. I wanted to stay right at the counter, talking to the chef, Matthew, all evening, and just sample the pizzas as they came out of the oven. I mean I will talk to anyone about anything for perfect, free pizza, and his running commentary was pretty entertaining. He even explained that the dough spends three days rising in wooden boxes he had hand-made in New York. But there were 300 other people there, and they were all eating and drinking for free, like me, and I could endure the dirty/hungry looks no more.

Of course they also have the red Berkel hand-slicer (I loves you Berky-see below if you've never seen one in such sensuous, tantalizing action), and they were serving some beautiful prosciutto, speck, and some other imported salumi. But without a doubt, they have vaulted to the top of South Florida pizza-making. I guess that's easy, when, according to the chef, "You love what you do. You gotta love what you do." So yes, the secret ingredient, once again, as Marge Simpson once said, is salt. Sea salt.
Berky do your stuff...

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The perfect pie? Or is too dark to tell? Either way, owner Gary Rack has made his move...

Racks Italian Bistro and Market
Intracoastal Mall 163rd St and NE 36th Ave
N. Miami Beach, FL