Best Pizza - 2011
Wild boar cacciatorini with red onions and aged cheddar. Roasted eggplant with chilies, capers, and shallots. Local beet leaf with lemon and garlic. These aren't just pizzas, folks. They are visions both mad and beautiful, dreamed up by Dak Kerprich, chef/owner of Lantana's Pizzeria Oceano. Kerprich is an auteur when it comes to pie making. He makes his own mozzarella and crafts only as much dough as the restaurant will go through daily. He sources local and artisanal ingredients and highlights their origin on his daily-changing menu. And he's simply fanatical about pizza — some might say to a fault, since Pizzeria Oceano allows no takeout (it would ruin the pizza's texture) or substitutions (he's the chef, not you). But the proof is in the product: Kerprich's wood-fired crust is airy-light yet brusque as a thin cracker. His toppings are always in perfect proportion, and his sauce is the perfect balance of sweet and tart. Sure, the converted bungalow is tiny and frequently packed and is open only from 5 to 10 p.m. every day excluding Sunday (and even then, the kitchen often closes early). But these pizzas, concocted by one mad genius of a pie maker, are simply worth it.