Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Pizzaria Corvina

3107 S IH 35 Suite 840
Round Rock, TX 78664

(512) 310 - 2625

One of the great things about being a single dad is that, from time to time, I get pretty tired and the last thing I want to do is cook, and I find myself with a good number of reasons to go out for dinner. Just yesterday, I had such a day. I had started a new contract with Hewlett Packard, and at the end of my second day on the job, I found myself emerging from an 8 hour meeting. Oh, the humanity!!! 8 hours! It wasn't hard to see that I wasn't cooking after I got Austin and went home, and I started to think of where to go for dinner after getting Austin. I didn't want to drive very far, and Round Rock is pretty slim pickings for decent places to eat. Fortunately, I remembered my friend Evelyn telling me about Pizzaria Corvina, and we were off! After all, it isn't terribly hard to convince a 6 year old to have pizza for dinner.

After Googling the address and arriving at Pizzaria Corvina, my heart sunk a little for the business. It seemed like it had violated all three rules of "location, location, location". It's tucked up in the Round Rock Crossing shopping center right near the Williamson-Travis County line. Now, the shopping center has a Target and a Best Buy in it and gets a good amount of traffic. However, the pizzaria is in a building right in a dead man's zone between those two stores. I also know of two places in that particular location that had already gone out of business.

Austin and I got inside to find a small and cozy pizzaria. Even though the place was pretty much packed, we had no problems finding a table and were seated immediately. I immediately noticed one of the effects of violating the rule of location. The place has a wicked western exposure, and getting there at about 7 PM on a summer evening put the sun square in my eyes as I sat at the table. That was easy enough to handle thanks to the very thick and heavy blinds, but the late afternoon sun was affecting the temperature in the restaurant, too. It wasn't hot and balmy, but I wouldn't have guessed that it was 72 degrees, either.

The decor looked pretty nice, though. It was a very clean design with a modern feel to it. The ceilings were nice and high---perfect for the guys behind the counter hand tossing pizza dough a good 10 feet into the air.

While we were waiting for drinks and I perused the menu, Austin gave me the night's topic of conversation. He said to me out of the blue, "Daddy, I wish kids could take over the world." With that, I got to hear Austin's vision of childhood domination. Wow. That would make for an interesting world. Apparently, all of the kids could get any toy they wanted and there would be no bed time. He wouldn't ever have to eat liver. The kids wouldn't drive anywhere either, since they weren't allowed to. He doesn't know what would happen to his teachers since he couldn't remember, and other grown ups would just sit around.

Austin wasn't feeling it for appetizers. So, I just ordered something for myself...which worked out just fine for me. The menu for appetizers and tapas just looked amazing and creative. I ordered the Hot Cherry Pepper Shooters so that I could take advantage of Austin passing on the first course and I could have something particularly spicy. By the way, this also gave him more time to tell me about how he wouldn't be president if kids conquered the world---he would just be something scary on Halloween. Back to the appetizer. It wasn't quite what I was expecting. Whenever I hear the word "shooter", I expect something liquidy and soupy...probably served in a shot glass. Not in this case. I was served small portions of mozzeralla cheese wrapped in prosciutto. Then, the whole thing was stuffed into a cherry pepper and fired in the oven. It was very tasty, and I liked it alot. However, it wasn't quite what I expected when I saw it on the menu.

It wasn't too long into hearing about childhood visions of global rule before the pizzas showed up. The pizza was everything that the menu described the coal firing of the pizza to be. There was a nice, light char to it. The dough was very light inside the crust while the outside maintained a very delicate crispness. It immediately got me to thinking of how I could get an 800 degree oven at my house so that I could make stuff like that. The combination of topping the pizzeria offered impressed me, too. My pizza, for instance, was covered in prosciutto, arugula, and truffle oil. It was totally awesome. Then, I looked over at Austin tackling his pizza covered in pepperoni and pineapple. He was totally tearing through it. The restaurant gets the kid vote.

Let me digress...just a little. For those of you who have read my previous reviews, you'll notice that I've mentioned a kids menu quite a few times. It's almost like a chip on my shoulder. Now, the restaurant did not have a kids menu....and I'm not going to ding them for it. For, as much as I think that there's no excuse for a pizza restaurant to not have a menu for ankle biters, Pizzeria Corvina has at least addressed the issue. The pasta and other dishes on the menu are available in smaller, child sized portions for a discount. Unfortunately, that did not extend to the pizza menu, though.

On to dessert. Mariah will love that they serve S'Mores fired in their coal burning ovens. I can't say that the coal firing really did anything for the flavor of the S'Mores or for the texture, but is a S'More ever bad? Austin and I tore our way through a plate of them. We also had an order of the Bananamisu. It was a great dessert, billed on the menu as banana pudding meets tiramisu. In my heart, I felt that something else could have been done to the dessert, but I couldn't figure out what. So, I brushed that thought aside and completely enjoyed the bananamisu for all that it was: flavorful!!

Overall, I'd have to say that the service was pretty good. Our waitress seemed a little uncomfortable in her duties, but I'll just chalk that up to inexperience in a new restaurant. I'm sure that she'll gain a comfort level as the place matures. On the way out, I got a chance to speak with the one of the owners of Pizzeria Corvina. She was a very charming lady and quite conversational. I learned from her that she and her husband also own 219 West downtown, too.

Bottom line: Despite a few minor challenges in location, a much needed combination of class and cuisine in Round Rock.

Lee - 9
Austin - "140,000 more than yours, Daddy"