Terroni Queen West
- So lately I’ve been on a bit of an Italian kick. Maybe its the changing of the seasons, and I’m subconsciously trying to carbo-load for the winter months ahead and preparing for hibernation. Whatever it is, this past Monday I was looking for just that at Terroni on Queen West.
The camp is divided on Terroni. People either rave about it or complain about the pretentious servers, the ‘no-substitution’ rule, or the slice-it-yourself pizza. Being a fan of this place, I have a rebuttal for each of these complaints.
While (some of) the servers may seem a bit curt at first, I owe this to the fact that Terroni is busy – always busy – and their no-nonsense attitude is often mistaken for pretentiousness. Our server, although brusque, took our order diligently while complementing our choices, had our wine to the table in no time, and managed to pour two glasses of the stuff from the awkwardly shaped porcelain decanter without dribbling it everywhere (which is something we later failed to do).
As for the no-substitutions rule, if you want to choose your own toppings, then head on down to that infamous sub-par pizza joint (you know the one…with its orange boxes and redundant title) and stuff your crust while you’re at it. Since when did slicing pizza become a chore? Just a few simple back and forth motions with a knife and voila! Freshly sliced pizza.
Regardless of the division, Terroni is always packed. Monday at 9:00 found us one free table upstairs, which was where our preference lay anyway. Although I do love to pull up to the bar, it tends to get a bit clustered on the lower level, and while the upstairs isn’t exactly quiet, shouting across the table isn’t required.
Our waiter promptly brought us the menus and we poured over the apps and the twenty-nine – yes, twenty-nine – pizzas they have to offer.
We started with the Funghi Assoluti ($12.95): breaded and baked oyster mushrooms served on arugula, sprinkled with parmesan, and drizzled with a balsamic glaze. It was superb, but sharing proved to be problematic, not because the portion wasn’t large enough, but because we simply didn’t want to. Social graces saved us, but I had visions of the two of us in an Animal Planet-esque showdown… circling the last mushroom with fangs bared and hackles raised.
We chased all of this down with a velvety Piemonte that was oddly served in a jug, which made it difficult to pour. Our server made it look effortless, but us? Well, we just made a mess. I did manage to solve the problem however (pour from the side, and not from the oddly shaped lip) and fortunately for us we had a seemingly bottomless half litre.
No sooner had we finished sharing the last ‘shroom was our pizza delivered to the table. We went with the Primavera ($15.95) to contribute to our daily recommended dose of veggies and to somehow convince ourselves that we were being healthy. All of the pizza at Terroni is thin crust and ours was weighed down heavily with tomatoes, red pepper, (more) mushrooms, and artichokes with a few black olives decorating the centre of the pie.
Now when I say thin-crust, I mean it. Maybe I’m just speaking for myself here, but I have absolutely no difficulty finishing a whole pizza without any assistance at Terroni. I’m a big fan of folding slices before biting into them, and the crust at Terroni is so thin and pliable I always envision myself folding a whole pizza in half,…and then in half again…and then having my way with it. Once again, as with the sharing, social norms seem to get in the way…
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