I’m the first to admit that I’ve rarely met a pizza I didn’t like. Sure, there is a wide range between a great, a good, and a tolerable pizza, but I’m not one of those who will refuse to eat because we decide to order from a place that isn’t my favorite. Heck, I’ll even be content with one of those Chef Boy Ardee home made things made on a baking sheet.
So think how excited I was to go to a relatively new place that has won many national an international awards for their pizza (a small regional chain now).
My wife and daughter had been there before, and I ate some of their leftovers and they were very good. I went with them this time and decide to split with my daughter one of their International Pizza of the Year winners which is also being featured on Food Network as on of the best 50 pizzas in the nation. The description is “Marinated Chicken, Roasted Potatoes & Red Onions on our Garlic Olive Oil Glazed Crust with Asiago and Mozzarella Cheese.” Sounds great!
It wasn’t. I guess I just assume a pizza will have some sauce. This one didn’t. It was dry and just didn’t taste like a pizza at all.
My favorite still is Mother Bear’s from Bloomington Indiana. Wonderful crust, spicy sauce and great fresh toppings.
What to you makes a good pizza? Clearly my ideas don’t match the pizza judges.
A good BBQ Chicken Pizza can be a great thing (for an occasional change). The Potatoes were small disks (about the size of a quarter) nicely browned on the outside. I think what ruined it was the lack of sauce or any moisture of any kind. A pizza should not just have stringy cheese, but something that runs the risk of dripping onto your shirt.
It all starts with the dough, which begins with the water. Some places have water that is conducive to making excellent pizza. The sauce is of extreme importance as well, but the cheese slightly moreso.
That’s why you simply cannot get better than a good Jersey pizza – you get a transplanted New Yorker using the recipe handed down to him from when NY pizza was king, plus the “you will quality ingredients” values instilled to him by his family, combined with some good Ocean County water – oh baby, you’ve got a slice of heaven right there.
It’s gotta have a great crust. If the crust is no good, them pizza is no good. An dlike any good bread, it should be crunchy and chewy at the same time. It should be the best thing that ever came fresh out of the oven! Toppings should be fresh, not overpowering, and not too many-- other than that, it’s just a matter of taste.
Best pizzas I ever had was at Al Forno in Providence, RI. People drive up from NYC just to go there (for all the food, not just the pizza). Never had anything like it anywhere else. It’s a smallish pizza, meant to be had as an appetizer, though. You could make a meal out of it, but it doesn’t come in Extra Large to feed a family of 4.
The wife and I were mightily impressed with genuine New York pizza. We arrived in Manhattan in the afternoon after a long journey from over here. She was exhausted and badly needed some sleep, so I ran over to a corner deli I saw and ordered a large meat-lover’s pizza to take back for our dinner. Fuck Me! :eek: I could not believe this huge monstrosity they gave me. Good thing we had a fridge and microwave in our room. It was great and lasted us two or three days.
For me it’s crust. I’m a bread-head. And having said that, locally, for my tastes, any of the Greek pizzas are better than the non-Greek pizzas because they use a better tasting bread. I’m OK with just about any toppings, as long as it includes olives–green or black, but prefereably green.
Mother Bear’s is really good (Did you go to IU Spud?), but I wouldn’t put it on par with an average pizza place in New York.
To me it comes down to being able to make a fantastic slice of cheese pizza. You shouldn’t be allowed to touch a topping until you can do that. In my mind, most places use too much sauce and too much cheese. The dough should taste amazing, and its flavor should be front and center.
Same as the OP I haven’t met many pizzas I didn’t like and there are so many styles out there.
However I really am liking the trend of the Neopolitan joints popping up. Baked in wood burning brick ovens. The twin cities have a few places like this with Punch or Pizza Nea.
Yes I did, and there is no doubt that this is part of the reason for my choice. I get it maybe once per year and it still brings me back to that first Sunday I was at IU when the dorms didn’t serve food and my friends and I ventured there for one of our first tastes of independence.
I was just in NYC a few weeks ago and sought out a slice at Ray’s. I know there are many but I was told this was the “real” one (across from the Stage Deli). It was good, but I actually prefer the NYC style slice from Bella’s right here at home. Totally different than Mother Bear’s though… I don’t think you are going to fold up a slice of MB’s and walk down the street with it. Both are good though, I’ll give you that.
Good pizza is like a good burger, if you’re eating it for the toppings, you’re eating it for the wrong reason
I want a thin crisp tasty crust that is still sturdy enough to hold the slice. Nice light layer of sauce and cheese. I can live with a topping or two, as long as they’re done with a light touch, no tiling of the pepperoni slices, please.
You won’t find any incarnation of “Rays” to be considered anything other but completely mediocre pizza by New Yorkers. You’ve probably never heard of any of the places considered “Best” such as
Johns of Bleeker and Lombardi’s in Manhattan
Grimaldi’s and DiFara in Brooklyn
Nick’s in Queens.
Anyway, OP, what you had is called “California style” and it was basically invented by Wolfgang Puck. Chicken and potatoes with rosemary is pretty classic for that style, and most versions don’t use red sauce. Purist though I may be about NYC style, I have no problem with CA style. I enjoy it actually (I also like Chicago style and feel no need to compare it to NYC style). You were just expecting something different, that’s all.