After reading his blog long before Varasano's opened, I really had a hankering to try this self-promoting Pizza maven's product. But with so much hype (crowds) and a worthy competitor (Antico Pizza), I only first visited this past weekend. Walking in on a lazy Saturday afternoon was much easier than when Varasano's first opened, and I had to imagine that because it wasn't slammed and it has been operating for quite some time, the pizza was at it's pinnacle of quality control.
We were actually seated by Jeff Varasano himself who was at the front of the house the entire time. Service was slow, but tolerable and we went for two pies - the Nana's and the Salumi. The Nana's is your typical cheese pizza with mozzarella and tomato sauce. I spotted a few pieces of basil lying just beneath the cheese and a drizzle of fresh oil which was a nice touch. This one was the better of the two pies we ordered, but just above average. The Salumi featured some cured meats and spiced olives (layered under the meat). Both the meat and olives paired well together, but I have had far better "meat" pizzas elsewhere. The crust was just bland. It was like gourmet meets Fellini's (one of my least favorite crusts in Atlanta). It looked nothing like what Jeff went for on his blog.
Stacked up next to Antico (far superior) and Friti (slightly superior) I find Verasanos the defeated dough-slinger in the Atlanta Pizza Wars. Frankly, I even like Pizzeria Vesuvius better than Verasano's for now. Despite all the hype, I just can't help but go against the grain on this one.