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OUT TO EAT / Great dishes, drinks and people

A striking combo

The pizzas that Amanda Schineller turns out at THE EIGHTS BISTRO (888 Main St., 939-2815) will never be confused with stereotypical Buffalo pies and their inch-thick crusts and cheese by the pound.

Since opening her vegan and vegetarian-friendly bistro last year, Schineller has won loyal customers with her shredded Brussels sprouts pizza and a vegan number, layered with tofu-cashew "ricotta," that garners praise from carnivores.

For a striking example of her alchemy, however, consider the one drizzled with rosemary honey. Take one of The Eights' pizza crusts— made with double-zero flour, grilled before being topped and baked —then add blue cheese and mozzarella; caramelized Vidalia onions; sweet, cremini mushrooms and roasted walnuts for crunch. Then add whispers of honey that has been simmering with rosemary sprigs. (The pizza is $12.75; add prosciutto or sopressata for $2.)

The walnuts arrived because Schineller was looking to make the vegetarian offering meat-eater friendly. "Because I do so much vegetarian food, I like to think of ways you could still have the sensation of eating meat, whether it's a textural thing or a flavor thing," she said. "People are really enjoying it. It's just a great combination."

- Andrew Z. Galarneau