Saturday, August 11, 2007

The No Cheese Thin Crust 42 Bus Pizza Wars: Round 1

This is fun. Pretty simple concept. I want the best no cheese thin crust pizza. Rules are: 1. No national chain restaurants (sorry Cali Pizza Kitchen, Bertucci's). 2. Any toppings I want, but I'll keep them to the minimum. 3. One visit per restaurant. 4. No delivery; I'll sit down and enjoy each restaurant. 5. Oh yeah, they have to be within walking distance of any stop on the 42 bus.

I've selected 3 pizza joints; Radius Pizza in Mt Pleasant, Pizza Paradiso in Dupont and Ella's in Penn Quarter. I've been to each of these restaurants several times over throughout the years and I enjoy them all on casual visits. Level playing field here, no advantage to the local place, Radius.

First Stop: Ella's

We ate at Ella's on a Friday night, just after the pizza happy hour (7" pizza's for 5 bucks!), but I didn't find this out until later, so no harm, no foul. The restaurant was extremely busy and there were all kinds of folks eating. An an obviously-tourist family came in right after us and a party of 8 or so college kids celebrated a birthday two tables over. There were so many couples and I suspect a few first dates (definitely the two right behind us). We only waited 1 minute and a half or so for a table and after water the waiter immediately took our order.

Some restaurants double take at the no cheese request, but since Ella's has vegan soy cheese, I guess they're used to vegans/lactose intolerant folks. When the pizza's came out they looked perfect; and had no cheese (passed the first test!). I ordered a pretty simple to make Marinara pizza. It came hot and with a thin, thin, thin, crispy, but not burnt crust. I really love the thin flour crusts and theirs was perfect. The sauce could have been applied a little more liberally, but after a few bites I forgot all about the sauce. The pie was very good. The only drawback was the garlic. I do enjoy it, but it came on the pizza in fairly large slivers. I had to pick off the last two slices worth of garlic slivers and pile them on the plate. The sauce was not acidic and very tasty. I did add some pepper flakes for a little added taste, but could have gone without it. The few burned spots on the crust made it all the better. I'd say an 8 out of 10. Overall great experience and I enjoyed a tasty tasty pie to boot. Next up, Pizza Paradiso!

Too be continued.....