The Boston Phoenix October 19 - 26, 2000

[Food Reviews]

| by restaurant | by cuisine | by location | hot links | food home |
| dining out archive | on the cheap archive | noshing & sipping archive | uncorked archive |

Sweet Tomatoes

Pizza spin

by Jessika Bella Mura

on the cheap
  • Ba Le October 12
  • Colleen's October 5
  • Bestsellers Café September 28
  • JJ Sushi September 21
  • Café Rustica, September 14
  • Venture around the bend from the Newton Centre T stop and you'll find the upstart Sweet Tomatoes, a spunky, nine-seat boutique pizzeria with its own philosophy about what makes a good pie.

    "Every pizza should be amazing," says owner Hedy Jarras, who opened the shop in early 1999 after a post-collegiate summer working for Sweet Tomatoes founder Christopher Owens in Osterville. (One way to deflate the food-service jokes directed at college English majors is just to give in.) With Owens's blessing, she imported his recipes and techniques from the Cape, forgoing a traditional red sauce in favor of chopped, uncooked tomatoes. Sometimes she even drops the sauce (for a "white" pizza) or the cheese (a "red" pizza).

    Plain cheese is still an option ($2.25 per slice, $9.95 for a 14-inch medium, and $12.95 for an 18-inch large), but the star attractions are the unapologetically pungent specialty pizzas, which lean heavily on ingredients such as feta cheese, capers, and onions. The popular "Pesto Splash" (medium $12.95, large $16.95) is lightly adorned with pesto, tomatoes, mozzarella, and fresh, chopped garlic. "People absolutely love garlic," says Jarras, so she includes it on most of the specialty pizzas -- although she admits that she doesn't care for it herself.

    As for the crust: although made with an oil-free dough, it's topped with a little oil to keep it from getting crackery. It's got enough backbone to support anything you throw on it, and also carries the merest hint of flavorful char. Loyalists from the thin-crust camp will be pleased.

    Sweet Tomatoes, located at 47 Langley Road, in Newton Centre, is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. for take-out and dining in. Call (617) 558-0222.

    The On the Cheap archive