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There's nothing blue or cavelike about this chic pizzeria, which turned a long-neglected Brookside retail space into a soaring two-story restaurant. With an exhibition kitchen on the first floor, it's a sleek, stunning series of dining areas in tones of charcoal, slate and ebony. All of those hard surfaces make it noisy on busy weekend nights, but that's part of this restaurant's appeal, perhaps. Chef Chris Graham bakes his pies in a fragrant, wood-burning oven so that the crust is light and just slightly crackly, and covers them with a limited number of appealing combinations such as the bubbling quattro formaggio with ricotta, asiago, aged Gouda and goat cheese; and the Four Seasons, with black olives, roasted red peppers, marinated artichoke hearts and roasted crimini mushrooms. The signature dishes are beautiful, but the desserts lack style
Blue Grotto's name comes from a sea cave on the coast of Italy where Roman emperors privately bathed. Thankfully, Brookside's new Blue Grotto isn't so exclusive, because everyone should be able to eat these pizzas. Blue Grotto cooks up nine hand-tossed pizzas baked in a brick oven, light on sauce but generous with the toppings and cut in four big slices. We're partial to the Porri, with its plentiful pancetta lardons, red-onion slices and shaved leeks spiked atop fresh mozzarella. Blue Grotto isn't for picky pizza eaters or gorgers, and don't even think about substitutions or additions (just subtractions). Every pizza eater is treated the same. No special favors. Not even for the ruling class.
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