LEWISTON — If you were strolling the streets of Italy in search of authentic pizza one thing you’d be looking for is leopard spots.When cooked on stone in a dome oven, traditional pizza sports a telltale spotted black and brown crust. You’ll find it at the Neo Cafe in downtown Lewiston where the motto is “Naples-inspired, Valley refined.”
A statue of Adonis stands at the front window. Colorful posters and Italian memorabilia deck the walls. In back, a cook shovels pizzas in and out of a red, igloo-shaped brick oven. The crust, thick, doughy, airy and crispy, is made fresh daily with 00 flour from Italy. San Marzano tomatoes “grown in the shade of Mount Vesuvius” are used for sauces and toppings, according to the menu.
A wide range of wines are available as are salads, sandwiches on thick peasant bread, calzones and appetizers. Among the more interesting, Prosciutto Wrapped Mozzarella balls are baked with fresh basil, salami and tomato sauce ($6). The Fondue Platter de la Neo is a melted blend of special cheeses served with fruits, fresh vegetables, meats and breads for dipping ($16).
Eleven-inch pizzas come in red, white or other versions. Among the whites is the Caprese, topped with extra virgin olive oil, fresh mozzarella and basil, cut tomatoes and oregano ($9); and the Neo Posillipo with clams, fennel sausage, garlic, oregano, parsley, lemon and sea salt ($13).
Reds range from the basic Marinara with oregano, garlic and olive oil ($8) to the Dominic that shoulders salami, pepperoni, prosciutto, fennel sausage, roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts and mozzarella ($12).
Specialty pizzas include versions featuring peanut sauce (The Don, $12), sauerkraut with sausage and brown mustard sauce (The Kraut Pleaser, $12) and jalapenos with basil pesto (Jala-Peroni, $11). You can also build your own and there’s a 6-inch version for kids. You can substitute the sauce on any pizza. Besides tomato and olive oil you can choose basil pesto without pine nuts or Neo’s garlic sauce.
The restaurant has a classy but relaxed atmosphere with seating for small or large groups. Take-out is also available.
The Neo Cafe, 524 Main, St., Lewiston, (208) 413-7371