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Evviva, One to Cheer About

Wood-fired pizza and gelato star at the Edmonds waterfront’s newest eatery.

“Can you review Evviva when you get a chance?” requested my new Edmonds Patch editor. I added to my ever-growing list the wood-fired pizzeria, new kid on the block along the Edmonds shoreline.

A week later, an Edmonds Patch reader emailed me about Evviva, “Found a new wood-fired pizza place…maybe someone should check it out…”

And then there were the glowing Yelp reviews…seven folks already giving the fledgling pizzeria top marks.

Evviva Woodfired Pizza seemed to be creating a bit of a stir, and I was curious. Thus. this past Tuesday evening found me just south of the Edmonds ferry terminal, peering in at the small, bright restaurant sharing a strip mall with the likes of The Channel Marker Pub & Grill and Jade Palace.

The dining room’s floor fielded a small fleet of wood tables, two of them being impressive communal affairs made from single mammoth slabs of gorgeous tree. Nary a bud vase nor menu tent blemished the pristine tops. Butter-yellow walls echoed the uncluttered feel, their sunny surfaces modestly decorated with a few eclectic pieces of art. Though the kitchen and its rotund inferno were a theater entirely open to the dining audience, most patrons seemed engrossed in the goings-on of the flat-screen TV overhead.

I placed my to-go order, asking for a dish of gelato ($3) to enjoy in the interim. A member of the frozen dessert family, gelato contains less butterfat but also less air than regular ice cream. The result is a creamy, dense concoction that is luxurious on the tongue. I asked the hostess what flavors of gelati were available and she presented to me the case filled with the likes of chocolate, mango, salted caramel and panna cotta varieties. My heart skipped a beat at the mention of panna cotta.

Since traveling to Italy a number of years ago, I’ve always longed to find the crema gelato I so adored while abroad. Tasting of sweet cream but decidedly not vanilla, the crema gelato was a simple yet bewitching flavor I’ve not forgotten. I wondered whether Evviva’s panna cotta gelato would be anything remotely similar to the crema gelato of my memory. To my immense delight, it was a pretty darn good match. Though lacking superlative smoothness, the snow-white scoop was delicately sweet and completely worth braving the chilly assault on my teeth.

Although Evviva had only one chap cooking up pizzas, thin-crusted pies don’t take long to bake in the high temperatures of a wood-fired oven. In the time it took for me to devour a bowl of gelato, the rest of my meal was completed and readied for toting.

Dessert out of the way, once home I embarked on the salad course. Evviva’s vegetable-and-bread panzanella ($5/9) quickly proved itself a dish after my heart, mostly because it included three of the ingredients I favor for my home salad preparation: English cucumbers, grape tomatoes, and bell peppers that are not green.

If I had my druthers, I’d have skipped the red onion, but I appreciate that the bulbs are a quintessential panzanella ingredient. A kaleidoscope on the plate, the salad had a light application of vinegary dressing that was enough to add tartness to the spongy, buttery croutons without rendering them soggy blobs. Crisp and colorful, the distinctly individual flavors of the bright bits melded into fresh, satisfying mouthfuls.

In my experience, the combination of an extremely thin dough base plus a hyper-heated wood oven runs the inherent risk of creating a charred, crackery pizza crust. Banish ye any thoughts of Evviva’s pies having the consistency of frozen party pizza ilk. Though the pizzeria’s crusts are indeed thin, they remain pliable with an outer rim of flour-dusted dough crisp on the exterior and chewy within, so flavorful it would be criminal to leave the edges behind on the plate.

Although I ordered a full Classic Pepperoni pizza ($17), I threw in a slice of Pesto Chicken pie ($5) for good measure. In the land of Evviva a “slice” equates to a full ¼ pizza, a fairly hearty meal when paired with a generous “small” portion of salad. Verdant, nutty pesto dotted with sweet bell peppers and slices of tomato provided a sumptuous, colorful canvas for pieces of tender chicken breast.

The pepperoni pie featured a light application of tomato sauce, balanced appropriately against the delicate base with an equally judicious layer of cheese on top. Evviva uses Zoe’s Meats all-natural pepperoni, which to me had a slightly more gamey taste than the standard version of the spicy sausage. I certainly didn’t miss the nitrates and nitrites typically used in curing meats.

In Italian, the word “Evviva” loosely translates to “hurray.” The Edmonds newcomer is aptly christened, as there is plenty to cheer about at this little gem of a restaurant.

Jan October 25, 2011 at 06:55 PM
Last Friday evening, we walked down to our waterfront and finally tried dinner at Avviva Woodfired Pizza…pizza and yummy desserts (near the Edmonds train station, & in the same building as the Channel Marker…which is a favorite place of ours for burgers & beer). At Avviva, we ordered 3 pizzas between 4 of us, so we got to sample all 3 varieties, and they were all delicious, as well as the cold beer on tap, and yummy gelato for dessert. The pizza’s slightly charred thin crust was perfect, and the healthier toppings were a treat. We also received a sampler of an appetizer (grilled asparagus) that I believe they are considering adding to their menu…it was superb! I recommend Avviva…you won’t be disappointed with the excellent quality pizzas.

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