Walking into Dough, I am struck by the size of its dining area which feels in equal proportion to the kitchen. The dining area is cozy, tables close together. At 6:30p in the evening on a Saturday, Dough already brims with lively people, filling the air with impassioned conversation and laughter. Amazing smells permeate the smallish space, pouring from the stoked oven, the heart of Dough and by no coincidence named Il Cuore (“the heart” in Italian).
Although I, quite unfortunately, have never been to Italy, the food at Dough is exactly how I imagine the food at many of the cafes in Naples, with the majority of ingredients locally grown, incredibly fresh and of the highest quality. We start our meal with two appetizers which on their own are fabulous, together are beyond. The Burrata Caprese is a substantial portion of mozzarella encircled by thickly sliced heirloom tomatoes swimming in truffle oil and sweet balsamic vinegar and topped nicely with a sprig of basil. The mozzarella has a soft silky center, slightly salty, and buttery. Words will not ever do justice to this amazing dish. I could go on and on with a stream of cerebral adjectives of praise. Simply, I love this dish. The salt, the sweet, the earthiness from the truffle oil, the fresh tang of the tomato, the beauty. Pure, unadulterated joy.
The Burrata Caprese certainly can stand alone in its excellence, but together with the wonderful Oak Roasted Mushroom Bruschetta, amazing. The Oak Roasted Mushroom Bruschetta is toasted, olive oil lathered rustic artisanal bread (baked daily by Dough) topped with roasted mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes and garlic in herbs. It is nice to have the extra bread for the extra mozzarella and wonderful to spread the roasted garlic on first followed by the cheese, then a mushroom or sun-dried tomato or both. Each bite different and delightful.
Now stopping at this point would have been well-advised, we have certainly eaten plenty. But how could we eat at Dough and not order a pizza? Seems sacrilege. So next up the Argula and Prosciutto pizza napoletana. It just keeps getting better! The crust is light, slightly yeasty, the bottom crisp. On the crust is more of the creamy mozzarella we enjoyed earlier. Resting next is the arugula – bright green, sprinkled lightly with vinegar, each leaf gorgeous. Not beaten up, not limp from a dousing. The thin prosciutto draped on top is plentiful. The flavors and textures are well matched. Salty and creamy, peppery and crisp, crunchy and chewy, tangy and buttery, all in one bite. SO GOOD!
What is clearly evident after eating at this remarkable restaurant is that Dough has a big heart, massive like the oven at its center. Go and make your heart happy.