Evviva La Crosta
La Crosta Pizza Bar
West Sacramento, CA 95605
Lovers of The Rind, a lovely wine and cheese bar on L near 18th Street in Midtown Sacramento, will be ecstatic to hear that owners Sara Arbabian and Steve Tatterson have opened a new restaurant in West Sac: La Crosta, an Italian phrase that translates to “The Crust.” With generous outdoor seating and a dome-shaped pizza oven that’s encrusted entirely in pennies aptly named “Penelope,” La Crosta is the newest installment of hipster-friendly eateries on 3rd Street, just off the I Street Bridge.
While La Crosta has an extensive menu, the star is, of course, pizza. Gas-powered Penelope stays the course at about 500 F, churning out an endless stream of crispy, thin-crust pies. Diners will find a series of neo-traditional pizzas, riding a gradient that may take you by surprise. Consider The Seafood ($15) with scallops, rock shrimp, mozzarella and a piquillo pepper remoulade. Alas, they were out of an ingredient when I tried to order it so I opted for “The Margarit-ish” ($12), its name meaning it’s not quite traditional with purist-chagrining oregano and cherry tomatoes, but it still hits all the right notes with a gorgeously crispy, flavorful crust. The Sonny ($16) was also a delight, with fennel sausage, mozzarella, feta, kale, garlic confit and pickled red onions. It was a little on the sweet side, but the contrast of tart feta and bitter kale against the sausage and pickled onion worked well.
Though pizza rules the roost here, La Crosta has a long menu with a number of appetizers, sides, entrees and Piadinas (flatbread sandwiches, like a small pizza folded in half). Several sides fell short, however, such as the Brussels & Bacon ($5), which sat limp and lifeless without even a hint of browning, or the Greek Chop Salad with baby gem lettuce, Valencia oranges, pepperoncini and sheep’s milk feta vinaigrette ($9) which was, per my dining companion, “just a salad” without a hint of feta—or flavor—to be found. Then there was the Pesto “Potatoes Bravas” ($5), which seemed to completely lack salt. When I inquired to the manager, he explained that someone had complained that the potatoes were too salty the day before, so the line cook had apparently swung hard in the opposite direction.
Still, there were more winners than disappointments on the menu. The Pappardelle alla Bolognese ($20) was quite possibly the most savory dish I’ve eaten in months, a seductive umami-bomb with a generous sprinkling of Grana Padano. The Muffaletta ($12) was a meaty dream of mortadella, provolone, olive tapenade and both Calabrese and Milano salami. The Three-Layer Creamsicle Panna Cotta ($9) was missing its signature orange-vanilla flavor, but overall had a nearly flawless texture.
The champs are numerous at La Crosta. If you’re willing to brave dinnertime bridge traffic, it’s well worth the drive for consistently good pizza and pasta. With an impressive wine list, it’s a great stop after a long day to drown your sorrows in carbs and vino. Salute!