Leave it to Gerard Craft to bring his Midas touch to a beloved St. Louis institution like thin-crust pizza. At his perpetually packed Pastaria, Craft and his team contrast the cutting-edge cuisine of his firstborn, Niche, with simply prepared Italian comfort food, informed by what real Italians eat at home. Notably absent from their findings is (gasp!) Provel cheese. Instead, Pastaria's pizzas are made in the Neapolitan style: thin-crust and fired quickly in a very hot wood-burning oven. The crust, so important for this style of pizza, is lovely, with a good chew and properly speckled underneath with blistered char. There are the basics: a margherita, a four-cheese, a housemade pepperoni. A more adventurous diner might opt for the Brussels sprouts pizza, the pungent vegetable shredded and spiked with lemon, and served with mozzarella cheese atop a richer-than-rich Béchamel sauce with rendered lardo. Yes, we understand that it is blasphemous to select a pie sans processed goo as the best thin crust in St. Louis, but if anyone is worthy of these honors, it is the genius Mr. Craft.
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