Connoisseurs of cocktails often say that you must first master traditional drink recipes before you can move forward and alter them creatively. If this axiom
is true for pizza, Nostrana’s Cathy Whims can put whatever she wants on her pies.
Tomorrow night in the Pearl marks the opening of Oven and Shaker, a pizza and cocktail lovechild from Whims and Ryan Magarian, with help from ChefStable’s brilliant Kurt Huffman. While Whims stays true to Italian culture at her restaurant Nostrana, Oven and Shaker is more about sipping a great cocktail and eating dishes that aren’t always rigid with the traditionalism.
Last night at a preview event she told me, “This menu is more relaxed. We’re playing with our pizzas more, we’ve got things like Brussels Sprouts on them…we might even have one with pineapple at some point.” The menu’s pies are topped with combinations like chanterelle mushrooms, radicchio and fried sage and a cheese-less pie with white anchovies and fried capers. Sometimes, the menu even takes unexpected risks like adding a little wild honey to a Calabrese salami pizza. Other dishes take some inspiration from Sicilian street food (often in the fried variety) like three types of arancini (including one with a beef and pea ragu and saffron risotto) and fried cheeses like mozzarella in carozza with anchovy caper salsa. Perhaps the most impressive are the lamb lollipops (shockingly tender lamb chops lightly fried and squeezed with lemon).
And the “Shaker” part of Oven and Shaker is definitely something to be equally excited
about. Namely,a pineapple concoction titled the Pineapple Trainwreck with just enough spicy ginger to kick the usually cloying affect found in similar cocktails elsewhere. And like Cathy’s food dishes, Magarian takes smart risks like his Pepper Smash- an Aquavit drink with bell pepper juice and mint leaves, and a Manhattan made with high-end tequila that’s not for quitters.
The restaurant will be open nightly for now, with plans for lunch in the future. And if you do go, please save me a seat—this is definitely the woodfire oven pizza spot I’ve been waiting for on the West side.
1134 NW Everett St 4pm-12 am, opens Wednesday November 30th