In May's Name That Restaurant game, the mystery dish was Pear Pizza from Cucina Paradiso. The winner was Nedra Boyer who told us, "I would recognize that pizza because I order it a lot! The pizza and the rustic salad are dinner many times."
As I munched one of these fine pies recently, co-owner Nick Gambino mentioned that "When we first opened, it was hard getting people to try this pizza. Pear on pizza was just too hard to take. Now, people are so much more adventurous, and the Pear Pizza is now one of our top three bestsellers."
Eating this pie, it seemed to me that all major tastes were addressed: the saltiness of the cheese, the slight sourness of the balsamic reduction drizzled on top, the sweetness of the onion and the hint of bitterness in the pear skin. This pizza is a good appetizer, because it stimulates so many parts of the tongue, but I could see it making a good light lunch for one or two.
We chose a pinot noir to have with our Pear Pizza, and that was a good choice: there are a lot of flavors here, so you probably want a red, but a light red is best because you want a beverage to complement but not overwhelm the food.
Incidentally, Cucina Paradiso is running a few specials, including $6 pizzas at the bar on Fridays 5-7 and, during the period when North Blvd. is under construction, you can get a $20 gift certificate when you spend $100.