Manchester: Fratello’s Italian Grille

The skinny: Considering how close we live to Fratello’s, we were kind of surprised that we had never been there. Fratello’s was also mentioned to us by @Grlsngr, who is always on the lookout for a good gluten-free pizza in the area.

All pizzas at Fratello’s are 12 inches. They are cooked in a large wood-fired brickFratello's Italian Grille Manchester NH egglplant pizza oven, which you can see when you walk in the restaurant. As mentioned, Fratello’s also has gluten-free dough available.

Pizzas here start at $10.99. Each topping is 99 cents more, and there are more than 20 to choose from, including hot cherry peppers, prosciutto, artichoke hearts and shrimp.

There are eight specialty pizzas at Fratello’s. A few of them are the Vegetarian Pizza ($12.99), topped with broccoli, mushrooms, onion, diced tomatoes, green peppers, mozzarella and tomato sauce; the Mediterranean Pizza ($12.99), which is covered with olive oil, garlic, mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes, black olives, spinach and feta; and the Buffalo Chicken Pizza ($13.99), which has buffalo sauce, mozzarella, crumbled blue cheese and breaded chicken, and served with a side of blue cheese dressing for dipping and smothering.

Fratello’s also has two other locations: Laconia and Lincoln.

Review: At dinner, we split two meals, one of them a pizza. Deidre chose the breaded eggplant, because — let’s face it — all vegetables taste better breaded and/or fried.

Deidre immediately called dibs on the slices with the darkest crust — which was just fine with Andrew. Deidre loves the extra flavor the darker crust brings. She expected it to be a lot crunchier than it was, but found that the slight crisp around a softer middle was just as tasty. The bottom was thin, and only bent slightly when we picked up our slices.

The sauce was really nice. We’ve had a lot of sweet sauces recently, and were happy to take a break from them for a classic, rich sauce. It was also thin, with no chunks to be found.

We love pure mozzarella, and we think it makes all the difference in making a pizza stand out. Andrew thought the mozzarella here was creamy and delicious, and it helped that Fratello’s used the perfect amount. One thing about using good cheese (not some cheap blend) is you don’t need to overload the pizza with it to impart a boatload of flavor.

Deidre really enjoyed the eggplant and would order it again from Fratello’s in a heartbeat. The breading gave it a perfectly crisp outside, which covered the soft and tender meaty inside. Andrew thought all the ingredients combined to make it like one big, wide-open eggplant parmesan sub.

Andrew enjoyed the cold pizza, even though fried eggplant is nothing special when cold. Everything was still in perfect balance — this is definitely a pizza he’d enjoy eating out of the fridge again and again.

Rating: Deidre: 4.5 / Andrew: 4.5 = 9/10 slices

Fratello’s Italian Grille
155 Dow St., Manchester
624-2022, www.fratellos.com

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