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Pizza Vita in Summit

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#1 Rail Paul

Rail Paul

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 07:19 PM

Pete Genovese of the Star-Ledger offers his thoughts on the new restaurant in Summit. It's adjacent to the Summit Diner.

Pizza was good, pasta was better, desserts were wonderful.

This is no ordinary oven, but a wood-fired Stefano Ferrara oven imported from Italy. With its round shape and gorgeous tile work, it’s almost a work of art, but it’s got a job to do — cook Neapolitan-style pizzas in a minute and a half. You can do this when the oven’s set at 900 degrees.

All three pizzas we sampled were commendable, if a touch undercooked. The Margherita ($13), with crushed tomato, fior di latte (mozzarella made from cows) and basil, is a simple, straightforward pizza. The Funghi ($14) is white pizza with a mushroom ragu and bufala mozzarella (made from water buffalo). The Tartufi ($14) is loaded with toppings — sausage, mushrooms, fior di latte and truffle oil. The toppings and cheese all tasted top-notch; Pizza Vita uses imported Italian olive oil, flour, mozzarella, parmesan, tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and sea salt. The good stuff.

Good pizza, but the pastas turned out better. The Casa Nonna ($14), with cavatelli, crushed tomato sauce and ricotta would make grandma happy. Everyone does cheese ravioli; Pizza Vita offers Sunday Ravi ($16), pork-and-beef-stuffed ravioli topped with a plum tomato sauce. My favorite pasta: the Polpette ($15), spaghetti with meltingly soft meatballs.

With DiBiase’s pastry background, dessert is a must. I cringe whenever I see the words “world famous,” on a menu or storefront, but the “world famous coconut cream pie” ($8) is light and luscious. Call the chocolate-filled doughnuts ($8) mini-zeppoles, only immeasurably better. DiBiase makes her own gelato ($6); the espresso gelato is a treat.

He likes it

7 Union Place, Summit; (908) 277-1400, pizzavitanj.com

“It must be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage than a new system. For the initiator has the enmity of all who would profit by the preservation of the old institution and merely lukewarm defenders in those who gain by the new ones. ”

Niccolò Machiavelli