Nomad Pizza – Philadelphia, PA
After eating my eighth piece of pizza at my fourth South Philly establishment I set off for my fifth and final stop of the day; Nomad Pizza. While driving to Nomad all of the eating I had done was starting to catch up to me, I wasn’t sure that I had room left in me for more pizza and I almost bailed, but the reviews I had read about Nomad kept me and my high expectations on course.
Not only was I new to Nomad Pizza, but I was completely ignorant to the Neapolitan style which Nomad serves. Upon entering Nomad I was impressed. Maybe it’s just me, but within seconds I could feel that this place had a vibe to it that not many pizza shops are able to create. From the open ceiling with wood beams, the wood on the walls, the wood facade on the counter, the long wooden community table, to some staff carrying in wood for the wood-fired oven… this place looked warm and inviting, but was the pizza good?
I ordered a Margherita di Bufala pizza to go. With the temperatures of the wood-fired oven reaching upwards of 1,000 degrees fahrenheit, I wasn’t yet done regretting my decision to not eat-in before my pizza was ready. I was asked if I would like it sliced, to which I said yes. More on that later.
I took the pizza to my car and opened the box. I’m not lying when I tell you that I was in a catatonic trance. Does that happen to everyone when they see their first Neapolitan before them? I so badly wanted to grab a slice and get to gettin’ but I had a lot to take in before that would happen. The leopard spotted charring, the vibrant red sauce, the creamy clouds of cheese; they all swirled together like Van Gogh’s Starry Night, but was it good? Hell yeah it was! The first thing I noticed when my teeth pulled away the first bite was how incredibly fresh the taste was. Everything popped… the basil, the tomatoes, the buffalo mozzarella; all there on a canvas of soft, tasty crust.
The Gestalt psychology mantra is ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’. The Neapolitan pizza is a perfect example of that because it is simplistic in nature; the ingredients used to make this style of pizza are few, but when done correctly they produce a Nomad pizza. Nomad proudly advertises that their ingredients are fresh, local, and organic, and I believe their product proves it true. Their attention to detail reaches far beyond using quality products; they recently took some staffers on a trip to Italy where they did everything pizza, including visits to some of the places from which their ingredients originate. Nomad also shows movies a few days a week in the upstairs of their Philadelphia location. From enjoying an excellent pizza at the community table to the showing of movies, Nomad is offering you an experience; it’s up to you to capitalize on it.
About being offered the pizza sliced or whole… I wasn’t sure at the time why I was asked whether or not I wanted it sliced, but it became apparent and appreciated once I inspected the pie. My Margherita di Bufala was topped with olive oil. The olive oil in combination with any natural occurring juices from the tomatoes and cheese are able to seep through the areas that are cut and work to soggy the crust. So, if your pie arrives uncut this isn’t an oversight on Nomad’s part, it’s the authentic Italian way, and also what makes it perfectly acceptable to eat this pizza with utensils. Avoiding the soggy crust is one of many reasons I suggest you eat your pizza at Nomad, but if you do take it out I suggest opting to cut it yourself at home.
While writing this review I got sidetracked with doing a little research of Neapolitan pizza. A little research turned into A LOT, and an already long review turned into a short novel. It was an easy decision to do away with a lot of the information I wanted to provide you regarding Neapolitan pizza because it made my review unacceptably long. But, if you’re a pizza fanatic like me and have yet to explore what it means for a pizza to be Neapolitan, I recommend doing some research; the history and standards associated with this style of pizza are fascinating.
Smitten with Nomad Pizza,
611 South 7th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147
Dining: eat-in, take-out
Payment: cash or card
Other: Philly & NJ locations, salads, pizza truck, movie nights, conscientiously green
Other: wine & 12 craft beers served, reservations for 6 or more
Bang for the buck: $14 for a ~12” Margherita di Bufala pie (and worth it!)
See what Slice says of Nomad Pizza (NJ location)
See what Pizza Quixote says of Nomad Pizza (2012 S. Philly Pizza Olympics)