Casanova Pizzeria 

On the plate of Reviewer No. 1

Even as the long shadows of late afternoon stretched out beneath the spring sun, the unmistakable taste of garlic lingered. It had been hours since lunch and a little puff of air bubbled up from my stomach and escaped from my lips, bringing with it the essence of fresh, potent garlic that not even a breath mint had been able to scrub clean.

Earlier that day ...

The culprit had been a few slices of "the Comet," which came with a bold warning in the ingredients list: "lots of garlic." Among the fixins playing supporting roles to the Comet's garlic were tomato sauce (the once staple pizza commodity that's hardly requisite these days), mozzarella, large slices of pepperoni, fresh tomato and lurking somewhere beneath all that, basil. The cast as a whole played out the Comet atop a razor-thin crust deceptively hefty enough for the task with a rind of plain crust about two fingers thick offering a just-wide-enough perch for a decent grip.

However, as per my request, the Comet ($9.50) was given but half the wheel. The other half belonged to a field of bright green rarely seen atop pizza. Burrowing beneath a layer of fresh, cold peppery arugula leaves were shriveled slices of salty prosciutto and bright white splotches of melted, fresh mozzarella--which next to the dull, waxier looking mozzarella on the Comet was visually far superior. Pitting the Juno ($9.25) against the Comet with the intention of determining a favorite proved fruitless, so I traded a slice of arugula-topped Juno for a slice of my tablemate's Clams Casino, featuring the infamous Connecticut pizza topping for which Casanova has become so well known. True story, the bivalve moniker isn't just some attention-getting scheme. They may be shoved around by bacon and green pepper and then doused in freshly crushed garlic, but look closely and you'll find a few pale clams. What they lack in flavor contribution they make up for in novelty, thus putting the Clams Casino in a three-way tie for first place.

So I gave up. At least on pizza.

I grabbed my fork and launched a commando mission across the table to secure a mouthful of eggplant parmesan. Rich like Trump, thick like a two-by-four.

I surveyed the damage we five, in total, had done. Three half-and-half pizzas, two breadless sandwiches with salad, a Cuban Midnight panini (with a honking wedge of garlicky pickle poking out all ends) and two cups of Lavazza coffee. Not a misstep anywhere.

And right along with clam pizza, it's on that confidence and consistency that Casanova has built its reputation.

--Rachael Daigle is glad she has her own office for those days when the garlic bubbles up.

Boise Weekly sends two reviewers to every restaurant we review. Read what our other reviewer had to say about Casanova Pizzeria.

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