Don’t be fooled by Uncle Vito’s classic New York-style black and white exterior wall – eating here isn’t like stepping into a Godfather movie. I was personally intrigued that such an interesting looking pizza place dedicated to New York-style cuisine was opening, but was slightly disappointed by the lack of authenticity.
Uncle Vito’s has a very sports bar feel to it, with one big screen TV and three smaller flat screen TVs, which happened to be showing football at the time I was dining. The venue was complete with a full bar.
Inside are more black-and-white movie posters and pictures that all had the “Uncle Vito’s” logo photo-shopped to them. There was even an old school picture of football players that look like they photo-shopped “UCD Aggies” into it.
I expected to hear music from the Godfather films, perhaps a little old school Italian with mandolin background – think Dean Martin or Frank Sinatra. To my surprise loud rock-type music was playing – and way too loudly. Uncle Vito, whoever he is, must enjoy his ears bleeding while he eats.
I ordered a basic slice of cheese pizza, 2nd St. Calamari and a soda. My slice was $3.75, the calamari $8.95 and the drink price unknown since they did not give me a receipt. My total was about $15.
Pizza, the main attraction of the restaurant, can be ordered either by the slice or as a whole 20 inch pie. This I found surprising: there is only one size for a whole pie, no small or mediums or personal sizes. One size, however, does not fit all. What if I wanted more than one slice, but not an entire pie?
Ordering is done up at the counter; you are given a number and your food is brought to you. The person taking my order was very friendly and even took us out of the long line to the counter and took our order from the bar.
Booths and high tables that seat just two are available to sit in; we chose a booth. We didn’t have to wait long for our pizza either – about ten minutes tops. However, my friend did get her slice and appetizers (fried zucchini) a bit before me, which wasn’t too big of a deal as we had separate orders, but I was eager to eat.
I tried a couple of her fried zucchini and they were far too hot. Both of us literally burned our tongues and lips on the scalding hot zucchini slice inside the deep fried exterior. They were also a bit too salty, but the sun-dried tomato ranch did go well with them.
Soon after, my calamari arrived and was served with a wedge of lemon, cocktail sauce and spicy aioli sauce. I drizzled the lemon over my basket of calamari and popped one in my mouth, expecting gummy and still-too-hot-calamari. I was pleasantly surprised that they were perfectly soft, fried just right and tasted good with the spicy aioli sauce.
I didn’t care for the cocktail sauce as I found it too sweet. Also, there seemed to be a seasoning as well – my suspicion is garlic. There aren’t many places in Davis that I can think of that serve good calamari, but I may have just found one. Though thoroughly satisfying, the price of the calamari gives me second thoughts on ordering it again.
The pizza itself was mild in my range of preferences. I liked that they had a thin crust, it is very authentic Italian (Note to readers: I am 100 percent Italian; I know authentic Italian food).
The bread part was a good texture, perfect actually: not too soft and gooey but almost crunchy. The sauce was again too sweet for my liking, I prefer heartier tomato sauces with emphasis in olive oil, basil, and of course, garlic. This one lacked in olive oil.
The cheese – mozzarella – was scarce and I would have liked to see more of it. What I did like was that the portion was about twice the size of a normal slice, from say a place like Woodstock’s. The price then, I would conclude, is pretty accurate.
What looks cool about Uncle Vito’s is that they offer something unique to Davis: a walk-thru. It’s like a drive-thru, but you can walk up to the window, ring the bell and get pizza from there. This is highly convenient for anyone who may be hungry late at night or early in the morning. After 10 p.m., Uncle Vito’s closes its doors to all minors under 21 and becomes a bar-scene only. However, the walk-thru window allows people to still order food until 2 a.m. Thursday through Sunday nights and midnight Monday through Wednesday.
Also exciting, though I cannot speak for it since I have yet to try it, are the options for whole pies. On their menu is the Gorgonzola and Fuji Apple pizza, Midtown Mushroom with many shroom options and smoked mozzarella – not typical pizza toppings which sound interesting to try. If you’re looking for a thin crusted pizza, this place may be for you, just don’t expect it to be amazing. I would also recommend Uncle Vito’s if you want to hang out and watch a game and don’t mind your ears bleeding from too-loud music.
ANGELA RUGGIERO can be reached at email@example.com.