One of my favorite comfort foods is pizza.
Locally, there is one restaurant that puts out a superior product. It is a small bakery-café called 54 Mint Il Forno, 1686 Locust St. in Walnut Creek. It is the brainchild of Claudio and Daniele, who operated a white tablecloth restaurant of the same name at Treat Blvd. and Oak Grove for several years. Their current Italian rendition is much more informal.
Outside of operating a coffeehouse-like destination in the morning, 54 Mint serves lunch and dinner featuring pasta, salads, and pizza — all unique.
Their decorated flatbread is also unique, having its culinary roots traced back to Naples, Italy, the very region credited for being the origin of this dish that American’s have embraced so much.
What makes 54 Mint so much different from its competitors? To start with, it uses an imported flour blend from Italy. This is combined with yeast and salt that is raised into small units about the size of tennis balls. From there, Chef Roberto stretches the dough into an oval shape. Rice flour is used underneath to make sure the crust is thin and light.
54 Mint imports Italian sausage, mozzarella, burrata, prosciutto, salami, and other Italian meats used for the toppings of their pizza. My favorite, called Norcina, uses fresh cremini mushrooms, truffle pecorino, and sausage on a white dough base.
Each bite is full of different flavors. With 54 Mint, it is all about taste.
Good pizza is a slice of paradise.
Richard Eber is a frequent contributor to The Icon. He is also a restaurant reviewer and avid wine maker. He is a member of the Contra Costa Wine Group.