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Cheap Eats

Pizza for breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Ecco Pizzeria (Essdras M. Suarez/Globe Staff) Owners Stephen Silverman (center) with Evando Ananias (right) and pizza maker Geovane Silva, at Ecco Pizzeria, where specialties include sauceless pizza bianca with arugula and a Caesar salad with grilled chicken.
By Sheryl Julian
Globe Staff / March 21, 2012
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A table of men enjoying a few laughs suddenly becomes very quiet. Each is holding a small piece of pizza, nibbling it or just looking at it. We can’t resist asking, “What are you eating?’’

“Pizza with cinnamon and sugar,’’ comes the reply, then more silence.

Among the many pies that Ecco Pizzeria offers, which include something for breakfast and a PB&J pizza for children, are a handful of dessert pies. Cinnamon-sugar is one; chocolate-hazelnut is another (this is the sweet pie that silences our table; more on this later).

Stephen Silverman opened Ecco in December. It’s a big, clean, well-lit, friendly corner spot across from Herb Chambers BMW with delicious thin-crust pies, good salads, and lots of environmentally conscious systems in place to get to a zero-waste point.

It’s practically empty. There was some construction along the T so the opening in the iron fence along the tracks was blocked, which meant you had to go to one end of the block or the other to cross Comm. Ave. - not a big hike for food this good. The crossing in front of Herb Chambers is now open.

Ecco’s whole-grain organic crust is Italian-style, what Silverman calls “somewhere between Rome and New York, mainly a thin crust, but not cracker thin, nice cheese blend that’s not half-an-inch thick. Not the type of pizza you would do a foldover like in New York.’’

That deliciously firm crust - pies were not as well done early on, but are now - is layered with fine ingredients. Uova, an egg pizza served at breakfast ($6), is around at dinner, too, in larger sizes ($14 and $20) and arrives with two soft-cooked sunny eggs on top, sitting amid crisp bacon. Bianca pizza ($13.50 and $18) is a sauceless feast of asiago cheese, prosciutto, and baby arugula tossed with dressing. Formaggio ($11.50 and $15.50) includes shredded and fresh mozzarella, smoked Gruyere, and Gouda with herb-flecked tomato sauce, a simple but wonderful pie.

Patate ($13 and $18) has layers of grilled golden potatoes, caramelized onions, and fontina, melted to add a nice aroma to the vegetables. Salsiccia ($16 and $22) is topped with delicious chicken sausage and sauteed mushrooms.

Greens in salads are especially fresh; dressings are made in house. Romaine in the Caesar ($6 and $9) is topped with shaved Parmesan. Grilled chicken ($2 and $3 extra) is removed from the fire at just the right moment, so it’s nicely cooked, but the pale meat has almost no grilled flavor. A salad called pera ($7 and $10) mixes arugula, pears, gorgonzola, and a refreshing citrusy vinaigrette.

For bambini, there’s a sweet little 6-inch PB&J pizza ($3), the peanut butter spread on a crisp round, decorated with circles of jelly. Silverman says kids love it. So do adults!

Silverman owned Icky Sticky & Goo, bulk candy stores in shopping malls, which he sold. He and his wife, Barbara Sisson, a pediatrician, have two school-age boys. They come in and critique the pies, says their dad. “They’re turning into pizza snobs. They don’t want to eat day-old pizza.’’

We pass up the cinnamon-sugar pizza, called cannella ($3), that knocked out the gentlemen and instead order cioccolata ($3), chocolate-hazelnut spread with dark-and-white chocolate chips, which sounds irresistible, along with a scoop of double-vanilla, from Boulder Ice Cream ($2.90 and $5.50).

And then we too are quiet.

Menu categories are all in Italian, though Silverman says he doesn’t speak any of the language, except to say, “Have a good evening.’’

That’s all he needs to know.

Sheryl Julian can be reached at julian@globe.com.

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ECCO PIZZERIA 1147 Commonwealth Ave. (outbound service road), Allston, 617-903-4324, www.eccopizzeria.com. All major cards, wheelchair accessible.

Prices Pizza $11.50-$27; slices $2.75-$3.50. Salads $5-$11. Sweet pizzas $3. Ice cream $2.90-$5.50.

Hours Sun-Tue 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m., Wed 11:30 a.m.-midnight, Thu-Sat 11:30 a.m.-1 a.m.

Liquor None.

May we suggest Formaggio (four cheeses), patate (grilled potatoes, fontina) uova (egg pizza), bianca (prosciutto, fontina, arugula), salsiccia (sausage, mushrooms).

Ratings

  • 4 Stars Extraordinary
  • 3 Stars Excellent
  • 2 Stars Good
  • 1 Star Fair
  • No Stars Poor