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Omnivore - Checking out a couple of pizzas at Timone's

Ron Eyester gets kinky with pizza

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I finally got to Timone's, Ron Eyester's new pizzeria in Morningside, last week. It's next door to his popular Rosebud and across the street from his pub, the Family Dog. Eyester is taking over that block of North Highland the way Giovanni Di Palma is overtaking Hemphill with Antico Pizza and two other venues.

Timone's has received a sizable cluster of harsh reviews online - from Yelpers and individual bloggers. I only sampled two pizzas and an order of calamari with two friends, so I'm unprepared to make any overall judgments. This is not a review.

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The restaurant, like Rosebud, features sourced and local ingredients. The fried calamari, for example, is from Point Judith, R.I., the squid capital of America. (Yes, we have a squid capital.) You can order it usual style with a tomato sauce for dunking or pay an extra 75 cents for a Rhode-Island-style treatment. I look forward to trying the scungilli fra diavolo starter, a dish I'm forever hunting in Atlanta.

Our pizzas were not what we were expecting. Many of the online people describe the crust as thin and crackly. Huh? This is either more proof that Yelpers hallucinate or that Eyester has been experimenting. Our pizzas were in fact thick and kind of doughy, lacking "char" (the favorite word of local food writers ever since Varasano's opened on Peachtree). It's not my favorite style, but many prefer it. If you've got complaints, consider the menu's description:

Our pizza dough is a blend of Anson Mills organic arinadi Pizzaiolo heirloom flour and King Arthur Sir Lancelot high-gluten, unbleached flour with a hint of Savannah Bee orange blossom honey and sea salt. We have also installed a carbon filtration system on the house water which essentially allows us to re-create the exact water found out of the tap in New York City.

Mmmm. High gluten.

You don't build your own pizza here, so don't ask. Remember that Eyester is known as the "Angry Chef" for his hilarious send-ups of whining diners in several publications a few years ago. So, I nervously write that my pizza didn't work well. I ordered the pie with shaved potato, fennel, housemade Italian sausage, and sage (above). I have no idea what it was, but the pizza had a strange, unappetizing undertone, Maybe it was the fennel, but I love fennel. Maybe it was the sauce. Maybe it was my own fucked-up mouth. But my friends had an even more averse reaction.

They of course went in desperate search of pepperoni, which is buried on the menu in nearly unreadable type, available on a cheese pie on request. But they got adventurous and ordered the meatball pizza with pickled banana peppers, chile oil, basil, and red sauce. They liked the flavors - not too spicy - but objected to the crust. They are the kind of diners who heap the outer crust on their plates.

Pastas, salads and lots of small plates more interesting than calamari are on the menu. By the way, each pizza is plenty for two, especially with starters. The restaurant's decor is in the same style of Eyester's other two and you can hear yourself think!