Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

No Idiots at This Cortez Pizza Place

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

No Idiots at This Cortez Pizza Place

Article excerpt

When I ask the waiter at Village Idiot Pizzeria for the one item we should absolutely try before we leave, he suggests the tacos. Huh.

Considering how much I have heard about the Cortez restaurant's pizza, that was a bit of a surprise. Open for a little over three years, Village Idiot has garnered a fair amount of buzz for pies cooked in its wood-fired oven and topped by a creative The tacos, however, usually feature pork shoulder or beef brisket, both cooked in house, along with pico de gallo, sour cream tinged with cilantro, crisp shreds of cabbage and a Baja-style mayo-based sauce, all stuffed into flour tortillas warmed in the wood-fired oven. There's also a fish version on the specials board tonight.

Though the tortillas are commercial and bland, the two massive tacos are an excellent textural blend of flaky seasoned fish, crisp veggies and rich sauce. Great, but not really why I'm here.

Watch chef and co-owner Joseph Yost as he tends his pies, gently teasing them off of a wooden peel into the surprisingly small metal oven, mere inches away from a gaily flickering hunk of of wood, and it's obvious how much he cares about pizza. He carefully rotates them as they quickly cook in the blazing, 800-degree oven, making sure that all sides spend just the right amount of time facing the bright fire from the logs.

When they're done - it takes mere minutes - the edges of the crust are blistered and blackened in parts, just right. The cheese - from fresh mozzarella to feta, but usually his own proprietary blend of five - is barely melted, distinct, unlike the uniform blanket you find at most places.

Yost is also a champ when it comes to toppings. Many of the pies on the menu feature multiple ingredients, but he places them with deft skill so that the slices are never weighed down, most bites holding a little surprise of Kalamata olive and crisp onion or crisped pepperoni and rich mushroom. …

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