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Pizzology Pizzeria & Pub
A little bit of Naples in Carmel

For those of you wondering where Chef Neal Brown landed after closing L'Explorateur in Broad Ripple, here is the answer. His new venture, Pizzology Pizzeria & Pub in Carmel, has pretensions as simple as L'Explorateur's were lofty, but still delivers the same culinary excellence in a twist on the most basic of mainstream eateries. Utilizing the former Goodfellas location at 131st and Hazel Dell, he has created a reasonably priced menu, with an authentic Italian feel. House-cured meats, homemade mozzarella, a perfect crust and a long list of interesting ingredients (some unpronounceable – ask for translation) result in what has to be one of the area's best pizza.

We arrived at 12:30 on a Sunday afternoon to a surprisingly busy restaurant, complete with large families and wailing children, who thankfully left soon after our arrival...but that was the last resemblance to a visit to Pizza Hut. One look at the pizzas coming out of the oven, and you knew this was the real deal. And one glance at the wine list told you everything you need to know about Neal's style...authentic, uncompromising and perhaps, a bit Quixotic. It would be much easier to just sell Kendall Jackson and Columbia Crest with pizza than to produce a completely Italian, regional wine list, filled with obscure, but very good wine choices. Face it...how many pizza joints can boast of having Falaghina from Campania or Montepulciano from Abruzzo by the glass? I only hope that his servers are well trained enough to explain to the lady who wants KJ Chard that she would probably enjoy a glass of Falaghina since it is stylistically similar to Chardonnay, or that a Super Tuscan might make a good replacement for Cabernet.

We began with glasses of Michele Alois' "Caulino" Falaghina 2008 that was as smooth as silk and a fine foil for our shared Italian mussel starter. The mussels had been cooked in a broth of white wine, garlic and olive oil, and in a unique twist, bits of slightly spicy, house-made salami that gave the broth a reddish hue, and the mussels a nice, savory bite...excellent. Served along with chewy, hot, homemade breadsticks, it was a large enough serving for two at only $8. The rest of the starters, soup and salads looked equally interesting. Next time, we may have to go for the zucchini fritters with parmesan and truffle oil.

It was a tough decision between ordering a pizza from the menu or creating our own combination...his selections were divided between a 13" wood oven "rossa" or "bianca" sauce based pizza, all of which sounded interesting. But given that we are pizza hounds, we finally ended up having to create our own, and ordered a Rossa (red) sauce adorned with house-made mozzarella, pepperoni, wood-roasted mushrooms and gorgonzola. To accompany the pizza, we ordered a couple of glasses of Querciabella "Mongrana" Super Tuscan 2006, which proved to be an excellent match. The pizza arrived well covered with toppings, on a relatively thin crust that was puffy, well browned, and chewy around the edges with an appealing yeasty flavor. And, yes, we could have had any of his menu pizzas at a mere $13 per pizza, but we worked our pizza up to $19, and it was worth every penny.

The "non-dessert eaters" even shared a Tahitian vanilla Palazzolo's gelato, that was decadently rich and creamy, and again, enough for two to share. Altogether, an excellent lunch...and a bargain to boot. We can't wait to return for dinner and try one of the seven pasta dishes that include a carbonara, bolognese and parmesan fettucini.

Pizzology Pizzeria & Pub

13190 Hazel Dell Parkway
Carmel IN 46033
(317) 844-2550
www.pizzologyindy.com