Wifey and I have been meaning to try Al Forno Ferruzza pizza for awhile. If you recall, we were going to go there one night but ended up at Podnah's Pit because apparently Al Forno had a broken oven.
So we decided to try again last weekend. It's an interesting place out on NE Alberta, so let me set the stage a little bit. The building is old and a bit rundown, a cavernous type of place where sound tends to just disappear. The decor is a mismatch of tables and chairs, perhaps meant to be received as eclectic but insteads just seems a little, well, sad. The counter, which has fresh deli items in it for sale, has obviously seen better days.
To be real honest, if it hadn't have received such good reviews on Yelp I might have been tempted to just walk out. At the same time sometimes these kind of places have the best food because that's the focus - it's not on the decor. Of course, sometimes it's also indicative of the finished product, so who knows.
Wifey and I decided to order a small margherita pizza and a calzone with sausage and pepperoni. We went and took a seat in the waiting area, which was a surprisingly comfortable couch near the door. From anywhere in the restaurant you can watch food being made behind the counter - it's a very open room - and we were entertained by seeing our pizza dough spinning 15 feet into the air as it was being readied.
A short while later, after the only other customers finished their food and left, we smelled this odd smell in the restaurant. It wasn't burning food, or really like any food at all. It's been quite a few years since my days at the University of Oregon so my nose may be a tad rusty, but it sure smelled an awful lot like something you shouldn't find in a restaurant. If not that, perhaps a candle or something - I have no idea. Right after that the pizza maker came out and opened the front door for some airflow, muttering something about burnt sage that seemed to be for our benefit. I'm not saying anything, I'm just saying. Could be purely coincidental. I would like to stress I have nothing to base this on except an odd smell. Still.
Our food took about 12-15 minutes to finish (we had ordered to go). The calzone was interesting - like no calzone I have ever seen before. Normally they look like a round pizza folded over on top of themselves, but this one was rolled into a long tube so it looked like a baguette. That obviously has no bearing on the taste, it was just interesting. Perhaps this is something Sicilian? Not sure - I do know I have never seen it before, including in my two months in Italy. I like it though. It's fun, unexpected - a different presentation with the same taste.
The dough was very good and the filling was chock full of freshness. There was no sauce inside the calzone (disappointing to me, but I love sauce), but it did come with a container of sauce for dipping.
The pizza was a nice thing crust with lots of tomatoes to go with the fresh basil and mozzarella. It tasted great, but didn't stand up very well upon reheating - it was so thin it became a droopy mess (thankfully, we've learned to use the toaster oven in such emergencies).
Overall the food was good, but I don't think I'd call it great. It's not on the same level of Apizza Schools or Ken's Artisan Pizza, both of which were outstanding. I'd go back if I was in the area and needed a fix, but I don't know that I would go out of my way.