Revisiting Pizzology Craft Pizza + Pub

Barely recognizable from its previous incarnation as the beloved, yolk-colored Mediterranean cafe Aesop’s Tables, Pizzology’s new white-on-white location in the heart of Mass Ave already has a sort of timeworn appeal that fits the neighborhood. With this second location of the pizzeria, owner Neal Brown lifted the menu and the high-temp, wood-oven Neapolitan-style methodology from his five-year-old suburban Carmel flagship and set them down in an open, window-fringed corner space with a working kitchen as its focal point. The terrazzo floor looks polished with wear. Stark walls and dangling pendant lights lend some institutional grit. And the vintage-style metal stools in the pass-through bar perch above patchy original wood floors.
As with the first Pizzology, crafted pastas and puffy-crusted pies, nicely charred and lavished with garlic, make up the bulk of the offerings, including five sauceless pizzas (more akin to flatbreads) brushed with olive oil and topped with smartly restrained combinations. The Saint’s wood-roasted mushrooms and provolone, for example, get little more than a dusting of sea salt, which is all they need. But Brown fortified this menu with some edgier plates, like octopus and grilled watermelon with arugula, Gorgonzola, and chilies. And eventually, he will move his East Washington Street libations jewel, Libertine Liquor Bar, into the basement of the 3,600-square-foot Mass Ave space—a cozy spot that the restaurant originally used for storage. “We’re taking this as an opportunity to reinvent ourselves,” Brown explains. “We want something that’s more like a bar and less like a cathedral of cocktails.”
Brown, whose previous restaurant ventures ranged from the molecular-gastronomy gem L’explorateur to the downtown tiffin lunch-delivery service Brown Bag (both no longer), has always been a bit of a moving target. True to form, a month after opening the downtown Pizzology, he had plotted out a third location, this one in the former Pamfilio’s spot in Carmel’s The Village of West Clay. “ My eventual goal,” Brown says, “is to have five of them.” 608 Massachusetts Ave., 317-685-2550,