I'm not sure when Allston woke up and decided it needed a new pizza joint on every other block, but I'm not complaining, and neither is my fridge.
The newest addition is Ecco Pizzeria, occupying the former home of Lee's Market on the corner of St. Lukes Road and the Comm Ave service road. Left for dead for years, with grimy newspapers lining its windows, the space has suddenly been transformed into a brightly lit, environmentally friendly hole-in-the-wall.
Like many new pizzerias, Ecco makes it a point to use mostly organic and local produce, right down to the pizza sauce and dough. But it's their commitment to recycling and composting (all the walls are made from cork, and you separate your trash at the end of the meal) that gives it an edge over its green competitors. As a nod to pizza's Neapolitan roots, all titles and sizes are in Italian.
We started off with the caprese salad ($7 for a "medio"; $11 for a "grande"), but given the fact that tomatoes should be hibernating at the moment, I would skip it and save room for pizza. The mozzarella and basil were fresh, but without at least a hit of balsamic vinegar, the overall effect was a bit bland.
Because I can't turn down scallops in any setting, we immediately went for the "Canestrello" ($20; $25), featuring a much-loved combination of scallops and bacon with a healthy dose of garlic on top. Not the healthiest, or cheapest, pick of the litter, but somehow nickel-size bay scallops on pizza works in a big way. The bacon was perfectly cooked, adding a hint of caramelization to the roasted shellfish. The leftovers from this one disappeared quick.
Slightly easier on the wallet is the "Bianca" ($13.50; $18), a simple pairing of prosciutto and arugula resting on a layer of asiago cheese and olive oil. Though it was a tad on the salty side, it was well executed and casually gourmet, a much-needed break from the average grease-laden slice.
Even rarer in grab-and-go settings like this is adequate dessert. And as a firm believer in dessert, I was happy to see gelato ($2.90/"uno"; $5.50/"due") on the menu, but I was especially pumped to see a selection of "pizze dolci" ($3). Like the Italian version of a French crêpe, these six-inch pies come with Nutella, cinnamon sugar, or strawberry preserves. Jackpot for a quick breakfast or a wicked hangover.
Ecco Pizzeria is located at 1147 Comm Ave. Open daily, 11 am–late night (hours vary). Call 617.903.4324 or visit eccopizzeria.com for more information.