Tomato Pie serves up Southern Itailan pizza
I’m not making any enemies this week. In fact, the owner of new Tomato Pie may be my new best friend. And it’s not just because Adam Brent makes delicious Southern Italian pizza with cracker-thin crust and fresh ingredients. I mean, that helps. But he’s also just so darn nice and personable. He’s the kind of virtuoso who starts off talking about his work politely, then soon feels comfortable enough to get a little puffed-up about his creations.
And rightly so.
Brent has a Sicilian mother, and grew up creating the dishes he offers at Tomato Pie: tomato and meatball ($7.95), chicken Alfredo ($7.95) and homemade soups, tomato cream ($2.95 cup) and potato harvest ($2.95).
If you’re an Alfredo fan (I wasn’t before visiting this place), you must try it here. The sauce is creamy, of course, but light. My cohort described it as silky. It’s so smooth, it’s almost sweet. Our chicken dish came with two perfectly cooked artichokes that had not a hint of bitterness.
Brent is a bit obsessed with creamy stuff. He puts a drizzle of Alfredo sauce in his tomato and meatball dish and calls its commingling with his wine-infused tomato sauce “Sicilian Sauce.” It works. Brent also adds Alfredo sauce to his lasagna ($7.95), which he deems the best you’ll have, at least in Indianapolis. He’s not exaggerating.
Brent makes his pizza sauce from scratch. He uses green tomatoes for his aptly-titled Green Tomato Pie ($7.25), a house signature. He says it’s the only pizza of its kind. I’m not sure about that. I am sure that the crisp, thin crust allows for the tomatoes, basil and mozzarella to stand up and out. Those who like savory-sweet tastes would do well to try the BBQ chicken pizza ($7.25).
Brent sautés the pizza toppings separately to keep them fresh and flavorful: On most other pies, they just get baked. “[I] treat a pizza like a plate and the toppings like food,”Brent says.
If that sounds like incomprehensible chefspeak to you, it’s because Brent has spent most of his waking life in the kitchen. He’s been working in the food industry since the age of 12, having logged time with Broad Ripple’s Cento family, the Radisson and Hyatt hotels, Crystal Catering and Carrabba’s Italian Grill.
Look for more exciting offerings and openings from Brent. He just started offering rib-eye and open-faced tilapia sandwiches this week; those who choose to order just steak or tilapia can opt for his mashed potato creation with pureed artichoke, carrots, mushrooms, broccoli and roasted garlic swirled in.
Look for his wine license soon, and a patio once it gets warmer. That will help bolster Pie’s character. Right now it looks like an unfinished but upscale pizza place, authenticated via a Frank Sinatra soundtrack, Italian paintings, tablecloths and a cute fireplace decoy by the door.
Brent has said he plans to take Indy food to another level. He’s found a reasonably priced, unbelievably tasty way to start.
9611 N. College Ave.
Monday: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Thursday-Friday: 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Saturday: dinner 4-9 p.m.
Food: four and a half stars
Atmosphere: three and a half stars