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Hours: Serving Dinner (Tues.-Sat.)

In a town teeming with establishments serving small, thoughtful, farm-to-table dishes, it’s hard to stand out. Renzo, employing a seeming mantra of originality squared, has found a niche. It’s the bastard child of a well-heeled Spanish/Italian chef and a mad scientist. Not surprisingly, the menu is a bit of a vocab test, even for diehard foodies. All the same, it’s a welcome education and a likely introduction to some things you’ve never had before ... Or at least not in the same mouthful. Case in point, the boquerones ($8). These Spanish-style vinegar-cured anchovies are often served tapas-style, on toasted bread with grated tomato and extra virgin olive oil. Here, the olive oil remains, but the small, piquant fish are wrapped around juicy pink grapefruit slices and topped with a heaping helping of ground black pepper. Make sure to include enough olive oil in each bite, as it’s a strong and acidic combination that kind of has to grow on you. The Shabazi ($14), however, is where the rubber meets the road. The heavily charred, chewy crust is topped with a vinegary tomato sauce and dotted with ground lamb balls. From there it’s finished with a generous portion of fresh parsley, mint, and purple basil. “That doesn’t sound like much of a pizza,” you might muse. And I’d be inclined to agree, but for the accompanying small dish of yogurt and zhug, a green Yemenite hot sauce. Made with garlic, parsley, and cilantro, along with olive oil and Thai bird chiles, it’s the Girls Gone Wild version of chimichurri, and it’s explosive. If you can take the heat — and it’s formidable — you’ll likely wonder where zhug has been all your life. Along with wood-fired pizza, Renzo hangs its hat on natural wine. There’s a thoughtful selection of bottles, plus a smattering of European-focused options by the glass. Undeniably deliberate, yet prone to (successful) flights of fancy, Renzo has hit the ground running. With a spot-on mix of style and flavor, I just want to kiss it, and I don’t even care who sees me. —Vanessa Wolf (Dish, Summer 2018)

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