Though they're rumored to have similarly great pizzas, I was a bit skeptical that The Real Deal specialty sandwich shop could excel in any other medium. However, the Chicken Ranch ($3.00) slice is a testament to their ability to do pizzas right.
'Massachussetts' on Serious Eats
Daily Slice gives a quick snapshot each weekday of a different slice or pie that the folks at the Serious Eats empire have enjoyed lately. [Photographs: Meredith Smith] The Diavola slice ($4.25) at Casa Razdora dwarfs a standard dinner plate. Each slice makes up a quarter of a 16-inch pie. And for the mouths in Boston's financial district long deprived of quality pizza, their mondo slices more than make up for the deficiency. Silver dollar rounds of hot sopressata are thinly sliced so that they achieve a crackling crisp lip in the oven's heat. They give the slice a little...
Cambridge's newest pizzeria, Area Four, sports quality, often homemade toppings on a tender, flavorful New York-Neapolitan crust. With some guidance in the pie size department, you can capitalize on the crust-to-good-stuff ratio.
The Pleasant Cafe is as "remember when" as it gets. I have few doubts the pizza tastes much better in the bar area, surrounded by beers, friends, and the local nine on the televisions. It's clear there are greater forces at work behind this neighborhood's family favorite.
I've meant to get to Sweet Tomatoes for some time, but part of the hold up was wrangling some mouths to make the trip out to Newton or Needham for a pizza dinner. See, I was operating on the assumption that Sweet Tomatoes Neapolitan Pizza was a sit down place, on account of the "Neapolitan" in their name. Nope, turns out they do a pretty nice slice service at lunch.
Boston certainly has a bar pie culture, so it makes sense that Russell House Tavern, a place that focuses on "modern interpretations of American classics" and keeping it local, would have a fancied-up version. When I saw the pies billed as "Tavern Pizza" I assumed it was an eponymous listing. With toppings like figs, house made ricotta, and beef tongue—toppings I would never associate with a workingman's pie—I was totally thrown when the ultra-thin pies arrived.
For this side of Harvard Square, Angelo's has cornered the solid and cheap $1.75 hunkin' slice of pie market. The cheese is pretty run-of-the-mill, but gooey, salty, and well-proportioned. Concentrated tomato flavor seems the product of a long cooked sauce with herbs incorporated on the front end of the equation. The crust has a nice and sturdy, but thin bottom, while the outer edges expand into breadier territory.
Oggi is mostly a pie and sandwich place, but you can always get a slice of pepperoni or tomato and basil, as well as a 'slice of the day'. Topping the Weird Science special was Cajun red onion, zucchini, and beef pepperoni. After seeing the paper thin zucchini slices on yesterday's Daily Slice, I decided to ignore my unadventurous inclinations and take my chances on zucchini. I regret that a little.
Ironically—or, rather, expectedly—they'd still run out of bread by the time I stopped in around dinnertime on a Saturday night, but the takeout-only pizza operation was just getting going. Everyday between 5 p.m. and closing time at 9 p.m. they portion out rounds of their sourdough base and toss them in the air to make pizza crusts.
I like bars and everybody likes pies, but I wasn't drawn to the words as a compound food noun for a couple of reasons. In these parts, it's served primarily in places where the food is, if not an afterthought, at least an after-the-booze-and-barely-before-the-Keno thought. But people kept raving to me about the pizza at the Lynwood Café in Randolph, a nice enough town about 20 miles south of Boston, so I stopped in to check it out.
Even though most of the people who travel there come from Boston, New York, and other cities with sophisticated food scenes, for whatever reason, most seem perfectly happy settling for not-so-great food. Spiritus Pizza, located in the heart of downtown on Commercial Street, is an exception, having served up its thin-crust pies since 1971.
Ordering slices in non-slice oriented towns can be tricky. Boston, even the Italian neighborhood known as the North End, is not a slice town. Pushcart looks the sit down part, but for $3 bucks and a tolerance for bad attitudes, you can get a massive slice of cheese pizza of the thin-crust variety.
Newtowne's tucked just outside Porter Square in a kind of grown man's land safely equidistant from the academighetto orbits of both Harvard and Tufts. The slightly subprime location must help keep prices down a bit, but the signature pizza-and-pitcher special is notably underpriced for anywhere in Eastern Massachusetts: $11.95 gets you a (very) large pizza and a 64-ounce pitcher of PBR.
You can't discuss pizza in Boston without Santarpio's Pizza coming up. Santarpio's started serving pizza in 1933. For the thirty years preceding that, it was a bakery. Today they focus strictly on pizza, bread, and barbecue.
One of the biggest pizza gripes in Boston is that the Greek dominated piescape means no good thin slices around. Not true. Just outside of Somerville's Magoun Square is Pini's Pizza (try enunciating around children), located just next door to longtime, neighborhood dumpling favorite, Wang's (I know, I know). Over the years Pini's has had some dips in consistency, but a recent visit evidences a strong upswing—so you won't get shafted.