Pizzeria Via Stato | River North | Italian, Pizza | Restaurant
The former enoteca is now a thin-crust pizzeria that lags behind the rest in an ever growing field.

Our Review

Rich Melman is usually ahead of the curve, but Pizzeria Via Stato seems a little behind it—-how many more thin-crust Italian-style pizza joints do we need? Years ago Lettuce Entertain You spearheaded the wood-fired-oven trend; here Melman’s disavowed it, and his crackery "taverna pizzas" suffer by comparison to the chewy pies at Coalfire and Spacca Napoli. The toppings we tried were hit-or-miss: while truffle oil did wonders for a white pizza with artichokes, the pepperoni, described on the menu as fennel salami, tasted of nothing so much as salt and grease. Perhaps some of the six other options would have been more satisfying, but it’s a bad sign when you have no interest in taking leftover pizza home, especially when your tab for two tops $70. I did like the crunch julienned celery gave to a Caesar salad, one of three salads on the concise menu, but a white anchovy or two would have been nice. And when I chose the sole red wine ($8) from an ultracondensed beverage list of house favorites, I didn’t expect it to be about on par with Yellow Tail. (My companion scored better with a $7 Barbera.) Nonetheless, crowds of what looked to be tourists and shoppers packed the small space stuck between its big sister, Osteria Via Stato, and the bright, barren lobby of the Embassy Suites. Locals should know better: Quartino, right across the street, offers a more varied menu at much better value, and the pizzas at newbies La Madia (in the old Jazz Showcase space) and A Mano (in Marina City) leave these in the dust.

Kate Schmidt

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