DOUGH Resembles a Full-Blown, Authentic Italian Restaurant More Than Just a Pizzeria
by Andrew Chalk
Although San Antonio restaurant Dough calls itself Pizzeria Napolitana that is a true, but only partial, description of it. Not many pizzerias can claim to offer burrata made in house in preparations that faithfully derive from Apulian origins, or housemade sausage, or a reserve all-Italian wine list. Dough does all of that and also gives pizza the largest space on its menu reflecting their dozen different styles, seven of which have appeared on The Food Network.
At a recent media event owners Doug and Lori Horn and their staff took me through some of the highpoints of the menu at the charming Hemisphere Park location (the other San Antonio location is on Blanco Road, and the Dallas-Fort Worth area has a franchised location in Plano).
First out of chef Robert Best’s kitchen were two burrata dishes. Signature Burrata al Tartufo and Burrata Tre Colore. The former was filled with truffle essence, mascarpone, and ricotta, being served with Village Farms tomatoes, rosemary balsamic reduction, and extra virgin olive oil, All served with housemade crostini of inimitable crispness. I stopped conversing with the world just to soak up the balsamic reduction on to my burrata-loaded crostini. It was a burrata and truffle-lover's heaven.
Burrata Tre Colore is conceived in the colors of the Italian flag. Pesto makes the green, sun-dried tomatoes the red, and house made stracciatella the white. Village Farm’s tomatoes and that ethereal crostini bread appear again. It is the unmistakable taste of basil, from the pesto, that makes this burrata special. My personal favorite, I could eat it all day (and the next).
On to olives, We have been accidentally deferential to National Olive Day, choosing it as the day of our visit. An antipasto of Castelvetrano olives heated in a cast iron dish with fresh rosemary, roasted garlic, and dried chili arrives. As the Fathers of Italian Cuisine intended, this is something you pick at throughout the meal.
Accompanying the olives is a large board of antipasto misti. It was (over)loaded with house made wild boar soppressata, prosciutto, speck, roasted artichoke hearts, pickled vegetables, provolone, gorgonzola, taleggio, pickled mustard seeds and Texas honeycomb. Sure, you have had antipasti misti a hundred times, but you still look forward to the next time.
Finally, the high point of the meal, the pizzas. First, Puntura. Crescenza-Stracchino cheese, soppressata, chili flakes, Sicilian oregano, extra virgin olive oil, housemade Calabrian chili honey. Brilliantly creamy cheese melted onto the soppressata and sweetened as it mixed with the honey. The crust, common to all the pizzas mentioned here, is moderately thin, but not as thin as pita bread, with a tactile chewiness. Periodic dark spots from its time in the oven lend flavor above and beyond that in the topping.
Dough’s Marinara. For lovers of the classic Margherita whio would like a little more heat and garlic. San Marzano DOP tomato sauce, slivers of garlic, whole roasted garlic, capers, Castelvetrano olives, Calabrian peppers, Sicilian oregano, pecorino romano, extra virgin olive oil. Be warned, the Calabrian peppers really do bring heat to this one. I thought it added an unusual dimension, but The Moll found it too intense.
Nero Tartufo. San Marzano DOP tomato sauce, house made burrata al tartufo, Village Farm tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, Lone Star Farm basil, pecorino romano, balsamic glaze. Gloriously photogenic on the plate with the color contrast between the red sauce, green basil, white burrata, and brown balsamic glaze arranged in concentric circles. Multifaceted tastes in the mouth because the burrata adds a creamy dimension to the tomato, the basil a herbal element and balsamic sweet-sour backing.
Desserts follow Italian tradition in being ornate, sweet, and silent about their calories.
Dough has an all-Italian wine list that, if the Bottiglie di Riserva list is included, would put most Italian restaurants to shame. Buy the best wine you can because the other secret of this wine list is that it is at very reasonable prices.
By all means regard Dough as your neighborhood pizzeria, but also regard it as your local Italian restaurant and your local authentic artisan restaurant. It fits on so many levels.