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Thursday April 24, 2014
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The rise of NeoPapalis

 

continued

Urban, Urbane: Mani Osteria in the Google-land at the corner of Liberty and Division will probably put twice the hit on your budget as any other pizza place discussed. It's loud and absolutely kinetic if you come on a busy night and sit at the counter alongside the open kitchen, where the "many hands" name plays out with ten pairs of them flying from the prep space to the wood-fired oven. Microthin-crust pies here can be exquisite and include the only clam one I found where town meets gown, full of shellfish flavor but not fishy--although it's served with half a lemon just in case. The brand new bacon and caramelized cipollini combo was tasty, although again the onions weren't as crispy-sweet as would be ideal (a complaint I had at NeoPapalis as well, you may recall). I was sad to find the farmers market pizza I loved last fall had disappeared from Mani's menu. But when owner Adam Baru stepped in for our overtasked server to take our money and check on our satisfaction level, he told us to try ordering off menu next time, and they'd make anything they could round up the ingredients for.

I'll remember that--but truly, I'm pretty much set for pizza for a while. If you want to expand the tasting survey down to the brewpubs near Main, Pizza House on South U, etc., go for it--con gusto!

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