Friday, October 10, 2014

Morgantown Edition: Tortoni's

Tortonis CollageIt's like High Street is sprouting new restaurants by the minute.

Another newcomer to the Morgantown restaurant scene is Tortoni's. Located on the corner of High and Fayette streets downtown, Tortoni's takes the places of the downtown Tudor's location. I'm honestly surprised the Tudors didn't do well there, because I was under the impression it was open late-night, and that seems to be the perfect West Virginia drunk food. But what do I know.

Tortonis2 CollageI - and some of my most favorite coworkers - went to Tortoni's soft opening on Thursday as the restaurant trained employees and learned their menu. They're good eggs, as Marissa would say, for dealing with my shenanigans. My friend Afton tipped me off to the restaurant opening, and we headed over around noon.

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There wasn't much indication the restaurant was open, aside from the flashing "open" light in the window, so it wasn't busy. The restaurant front is all windows, so it's nice for people-watching from the few tables in the front of the restaurant. Along the right side, some tables line the wall. And the main centerpiece is the giant chalkboard above the cash register carrying the menu.

The focus seems to be on the pizza, with lots of specialty ones, like a ranch bacon cheeseburger, taco, Hawaiian, buffalo chicken, broccoli chicken and more. They also have a selection of pastas, salads, subs and wraps.

TortonisWe ordered two pizzas - a pepperoni and their signature Tortoni's pizza - and a chicken salad. The salad actually looked pretty good and has a bunch of toppings, but I would suggest listing all the ingredients in the description because it didn't mention cheese or croutons there and for someone with a dairy allergy, that could be dangerous. Having coworkers who are cautious of dairy and peanut allergies has definitely made me more aware of ingredients in food. Just a thought.

The pizzas were OK. The dough was very round (ahem, premade), and it wasn't crispy enough. Tony - Italian coworker who believes he cooks Italian better than anyone ever - said the oven needs to be hotter to get that nice crisp. I hate to say it but it reminds me a bit of a frozen pizza. That's not necessarily terrible. Some frozen pizzas are OK. Some.

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The Tortoni's signature pizza has a sort of cheese sauce with lots of cheese, huge chunks of onion and meatballs. Something, to me, is missing from this pizza. It needs something fresh - tomato? Something because it just feels very heavy. And the onions need to be not in huge chunks. I had a bite that was just layers of cooked onion. Too much. I liked the meatballs, though.

TortonisOverall thoughts - crust needs to be crisper. Onions smaller. More fresh ingredients. We split the two pizzas and each had a drink from the cooler and only spent about $7 per person. So the price is nice.

They had a sign saying they will have a late-night window, so that might be popular with the downtown crowd. And it looks as though they'll add some homemade desserts. That would be nice. We'll see how it pans out.

Grade: C
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