With all due respect to the NY Pizza in Seattle thread, I thought that Via Tribunali was getting enough buzz to deserve its own thread. Besides, it's been a while since I started a topic. Plus, hey...we went...we ate. Anita (ScorchedPalate) and I visited Via Tribunali on Saturday night with Lauren (LEdlund) and her husband Paul. We walked in without reservations at about 8:30pm, and the joint was hot. No, I mean really, it was warm. Apparently, the wood-fired oven puts out a lot more heat than they anticipated. According to the host, they're working on getting some fans in to move the air around, which should be okay for the winter, but come summer they're going to need some serious climate control technology. Aesthetically, the space was an urban treat: vaulted ceilings, exposed brick, wood beams, cool and funky light fixtures, and huge stained glass art glowing on the walls. We ordered a bottle of wine while we waited for our table -- it was a drinkable Barbaresco that felt a little expensive for how it tasted. On the other hand, it was hard to tell as both it and our second bottle later in the evening (Chianti Riserva) were served practically blood-warm. Did I mention that they had temperature issues? Our table--which didn't take long to obtain--was directly in front of the oven, which served two purposes: it took a bit of the chill off (okay, I'll stop now), and it also allowed us to observe the antics of the pizza chef, who appears to be Via Tribunali's weak link. We opened with a shared board of Armandino Batali's salumi. Or, at least we think it was. The menu entry made it hard to tell if it was Salumi or just salumi. If you know what I mean. Another menu nitpick, courtesy of my polyglot wife: the menu is entirely in Italian, and slangy Italian at that. You can figure it out, but it was more than a little precious and occasionally an obstacle. Anyway, salumi: pork and lamb prosciutto, some hot coppa, some regular salumi, a bit of grana, and some olives. Yum. Salads followed: respectable mixed greens with ham shaved on top. Dressed with...you know...dressing. Oil, vinegar, etc.. I liked the ham -- it was lightly salted and delicately flavored. Hey, wait. Prosciutto crudo? Could be. Our server not so gently suggested that we order at least three and maybe even four pizzas. We ordered two, and promised to order more if we were hungry. Two was plenty after the appetizers. One we ordered with prosciutto, mushrooms, and cheese. The second, the Via Tribunali, had more than one and less than five cheeses, two of which were ricotta and fresh mozzarella. Neither pizza came sliced, and yes, it was a bit irritating, given the dull knives that we had to work with. We soldiered on. Unfortunately, neither pizza was really worth the effort. The mushrooms were canned and tasted like it. The sauce was unspectacular. The crust was too thick to be thin and too thin to be thick, but that's my opinion, not of the entire group. Both pies had too much stuff on them and were undercooked--the middles were pretty soupy. An extra few minutes in the oven would have helped...but there was so much moisture in the pile of ingredients...I dunno. I'm not a pizza chef, and I didn't even stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. Either too dumb to quit while we were behind or too drunk to care, we ordered dessert and were redeemed. The affogato (sp?) was wonderful: dense, rich ice cream covered in sweetened meringue crumbles and a shot of espresso. The pastela Napolitana (sp?) was just as delicious, with bits of candied citrus peel in a pastry that wasn't quite cake and wasn't quite a tart and wasn't quite a pie shell either. The appetizers and salads were $7 and up. The pizzas ranged between $12 and $15. The large majority of the wine selection was over $40. Not get-dressed-up expensive, but it ain't Piecora's, either. The staff ranged from friendly and competent (the host) to amusing but inexperienced (our server) to buffoonish. The latter refers to the pizza chef who, given that it was Saturday night, I can only presume was the "Dino" mentioned on the menu. Dino cavorted around the restaurant for much of the evening, opened bottles of wine for tables of his friends (staggeringly expensive bottles, to judge by the reactions of the staff), and generally enjoyed himself. All of which I ordinarily heartily approve of, so long as the food is good. Given the state of our pizzas...well...it's hard to be forgiving. Via Tribunali reminds me of an Italian motorcycle that I once owned: beautiful, but deeply flawed. It was a *fantastic* space, and there were enough tasty things to make me want to go back. Maybe in a few months, after things calm down and the kitchen gets its game on, although I don't know that kitchens work like that when it's, like, one guy.