The sign on the on the card says that this place has an original coal-fired brick oven pizza. First there was gas, then wood, and now anthracite. The higher the kindling point, the hotter the oven and the crisper the pizza. These are thin, whipped out in three minutes and pretty good. Loaded with spinach and fresh veggies or pepperoni, mozzarella and a thin tomato saucebasic pizza à la Montréalaise, and a dozen other varieties. There's pasta, salads, good soup (pasta fagiole the day we were there) and decent wine by the glass. The price is cheap. It's hard to spend more than $20 and there are lots of specials under $10. The atmosphere is bright and Mainly pretty typical for this part of town, psuedo-Italiano and crypto-loft on the ground floor. Lots of space, comfort food. Not bad.
My problem (and its my problem, okay?) is that pizza for me is comfort food. I don't like it thin and crispy. I like it chewy with a lot of mouth feel and plenty of stuff on top. I don't want to say to myself when I'm finished "Boy, was that a healthy meal." I'd rather say "I can't believe I ate the whole thing." I was born in the wrong decade for thin and crispy pizza. Damn, I'd like to try throwing a little tandoor chicken in there and see what happens.
That noted, Prato is fun and quite enjoyable. Good for kids, great for a first date. Noto bene: service when we were there, lunchtime, was painfully slow. If it takes 45 minutes to get a 3-minute pizza, something is wrong in the equation, or the kitchen.
Still, I'll go back. There aren't that many places that feel this comfortable on an increasingly trendy section of the Main. I trust the problems we encountered were an aberration and that the coal-fired brick oven will be around for a while.
Reviewed by Barry Lazar