From the second-story window of Flatbread Neapolitan Pizzeria's new downtown location, Boise feels like a new city. Framed by the Eighth and Main Tower's angular architecture, downtown looks more cosmopolitan--like you're getting a glimpse into the future.
And the view inside is equally impressive. Rays of sunshine fall across salvaged-wood tables and bicycle-chain chandeliers equipped with dangling Edison light bulbs. The open kitchen and giant imported pizza oven are covered in shiny white tiling. It's an aesthetic you can't escape in bigger cities, but somehow, in this context, it feels fresh.
While the menu still features many of the chain's popular dishes--D.O.C.-rated authentic Neapolitan pizzas, sandwiches and salads--there are some additions that reflect the spot's more polished urban vibe.
Flatbread now sources a number of cured meat products from Utah's Creminelli Fine Meats, which makes old-world-style salumi from heritage pigs. On a recent lunch visit, the porchetta sandwich ($11.50) featured Creminelli's hand-rolled porchetta roast--skin-on pork belly wrapped around pieces of pork sirloin and shoulder seasoned with garlic, sea salt and rosemary. The warm porchetta was sliced razor thin then piled on an airy brioche bun with melty fontina, balsamic cippolini onions, arugula and chopped tomatoes. Served on a long wooden board, the sandwich came with an apple, pear and currant chutney that had plenty of tang to cut the pork fat.
The prosciutto pesto pizza ($14.75, or $9.95 for a smaller lunch pizzetta and a side) also uses Creminelli meat. Topped with marbled prosciutto shavings, the pie boasts a modest smear of pesto, a few slender stalks of broccolini, balsamic cippolini onions, bubbly fontina, slivers of garlic and a not-too-spicy serrano honey sauce.
After sampling a few more pizzettas and flatbreads during the late-night happy hour (10-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday)--including the tomato margherita pizzetta ($6, bland); the chili-glazed shrimp and chorizo flatbread ($6, aggressively spicy); and the portobello sausage, fontina and arugula flatbread with a fig drizzle ($7.75, awesome)--I discovered that the pizzettas tend to come out on the doughy side, while the larger flatbreads achieve a more satisfying crunch in the wood-fired oven.
Speaking of a satisfying crunch, the chopped kale salad ($10.50) is quite possibly my favorite new find at Flatbread. Raw chopped kale is tossed with bright yellow beet slivers, hunks of chevre, candied walnuts, diced pears and a citrusy blood orange vinaigrette. The flavors and textures meld together perfectly and pair devilishly well with a not-too-sweet blood orange margarita--which, priced at $4 during happy hour, gives Flatbread an accessible vibe that compliments the swanky new views.