For a moment, we almost forgot we were in Baltimore. In a quiet Canton neighborhood near Patterson Park, we discovered an authentic taste of Naples at Verde Pizza Napoletana. Husband-and-wife owners Edward Bosco and Marianne Kresevich opened the restaurant last September in the former Birches restaurant space. The two have transformed the interior with shiny, white-tiled floors, red-brick walls, and wooden tabletops. Bosco’s menu draws inspiration from Kesté Pizza & Vino, a wildly popular Neapolitan pizzeria in his hometown of New York City. You’ll see ingredients such as lemon, Pecorino Romano, basil, and arugula used repeatedly, but in different and innovative ways. Diners need to make only one major decision—pizza with sauce or no sauce. Verde’s selection of Italian microbrews immediately grabbed our attention. Although expensive at $12 a bottle, the Nuova Mattina, light and crisp with tones of ginger and coriander, paired perfectly with our pizza.
We started with the insalata con bresaola, where arugula, lightly dressed in a simple olive-oil-and-lemon vinaigrette, balanced thin slices of bresaola (a salt-dried, aged Italian meat) and shaved Pecorino Romano. A bowl of roasted olives, marinated in olive oil, lemon, rosemary, and sage, complemented Verde’s house-made focaccia.
We tried both breeds of Verde’s pizza. The Sorrentina, with smoked buffalo mozzarella, sliced lemons, and basil, caught our eye, but we opted instead for the pizza verde rossa. We loved the slight bitterness of the arugula with the salty prosciutto di Parma and Pecorino Romano, all of which were piled on top of a thin layer of buffalo mozzarella and a light tomato sauce.
The salsiccia e friarelli, a white pizza with smoked mozzarella, broccoli rabe, sausage, and basil was delicious, too, but skimped on the ingredients.
Bosco takes pride in his pizza crust, which is made with imported Italian flour. A smoky flavor and spots of char evidence the high-heat, wood-burning oven that makes a genuine Neapolitan pie.
For dessert, Verde offers a selection of house-made sweets, including tiramisu and pizza con Nutella made with the restaurant’s signature crust. Our server confessed that he never finished the pizza in one sitting and suggested that we save the rest for the next morning. Nutella pizza for breakfast? We like this idea. A lot.
›› Verde Pizza Napoletana, 641 S. Montford Ave., 410-522-1000. Hours: 5-10 p.m. Tues.-Thurs., 11:30-3 p.m. and 5-11 p.m. Fri., 12-11 p.m. Sat., 12-10 p.m. Sun. Appetizers: $5-14; pizzas: $7-17; calzones: $16, desserts: $6-10.