Sunday, March 9, 2014

Adriatico's New York Style Pizza

Adriatico's has been serving pizza in Clifton since 1975 (with a second location at Ohio State that opened in 1986). The most well known location resides in Cincinnati. Since moving a couple years ago from Jefferson Street, Adriatico's is now next to Pomodori's and a couple blocks from Mac's, which makes McMillan Cincinnati's Avenue of Great Pizza (IMHO).

Eschewing the typical OTR brunch spots, we ended up at Adriatico's this Sunday. 'Twas a wise decision. It's suprising we hadn't reviewed Adriatico's earlier, as it's one of our favorite Cincinnati pizzerias. This day, we opted for what Comet's Pizza would call a PMS Pizza - Pepperoni, Mushroom, and Sausage. A large "New York Style" hand-tossed crust pizza ended up being more than enough (we were quite full after eating five of eight slices).

The screen-marked crust is thicker than you would expect from a "New York Style" slice. Nonetheless, it was a fine combination of chewy and crunchy. That is the mark of a great pizza!

As for the rest of the pizza: The sauce was prominent and had a strong tomato taste which we enjoyed. The sausage boulders were delicious - reminds us of our favorite Chicago places. And the cheese was... plentiful. It was a tasty if very greasy pie. Don't believe us? Here's what our tray looked like after boxing the leftovers:

Adriatico's is your prototypical college pizza, and we fully enjoyed it. It's also one of the few great Cincinnati pizzerias that predates the last 10-15 years, making Adriatico's - wait for it - a "Culturally Significant Cincinnati Pizzeria" (There really should be a historic marker). With a great selection of beer at the new location, this is an excellent spot to watch a Bearcats (or Xavier) game, which we heartily endorse. 

Adriatico's Pizza on Urbanspoon
Adriatico's on Urbanspoon

Monday, January 20, 2014

Queen City Pizza

When I first joined Urbanspoon, I gave Queen City Pizza a thumbs down. That thumb direction was based on foggy memories of having tried it around 1995 and thinking the pizza wasn't as good as Mr. T's Pizza (a fine, but sadly lost West Side Pizzeria formerly on Elberon).  Not that I'm second guessing Nine-Year-Old's-Joe's judgement in pizza... But after nineteen years, I decided to give Queen City Pizza a second try.

Queen City Pizza is a pick-up/delivery place on Queen City Avenue. The area is a little rough, but not too bad. Their website has a lot of good coupons which can make this pizza quite reasonable. I opted for a three topping (Pepperoni, sausage, and extra cheese) large pizza for $11.99. The pizza was square cut and bigger than a typical chain large pizza. It ended up being enough pizza for 3-4 people.
Square-Cut Large Cheese, Pepperoni, and Sausage Pizza
This was a heavy pizza, but that's probably due to my topping selection. There was a ton of cheese on this pie. The crust itself was actually pretty fluffy, with a crisp bottom (as if fried in olive oil). It was really a quite good crust for a medium-crust pizza. 
The Undercarriage Shot
Nice Gluten Structure!
The pepperoni and sausage tasted similar to what you would get at Papa John's. The cheese was as good as you'd expect for such a pizza. Really for $11.99, you're not going to get authentic Campania buffalo mozzarella. Nor do you want it, this was just a solid "workhorse pizza". It tastes good and will satisfy you at a low cost.  For the price of Papa John's, you get a much better pizza than Papa Johns. 

The crust is what made this pizza. But let me emphasize that you should get the "Traditional Regular Crust". We returned for a second visit and tried their "Neapolitan Thin Crust"... It comes about as close to a good Neapolitan Pizza as Domino's. It was too hard, a little burnt (and I always hesitate to use that word with pizza), and just lacking in taste. You'd be much better served by sticking to the traditional crust. 

Bottom line: With Queen City Pizza, we believe we have found a well hidden gem. If you're thinking about going to Papa John's, Pizza Hut, Domino's, or Little Caesar's - stop and reconsider. You would be better served by a traditional crust pizza at Queen City Pizza. If you happen to have heard the nine-year old-version of me bad mouthing the traditional crust pizza here, all I can offer you is a little Social Distortion (chalk it up to the errors of youth):

Queen City Pizza on Urbanspoon

Friday, January 10, 2014

Like Us On Facebook

We decided to create a Facebook page for all our pizza reviews: Cincinnati Pizza. Like us there to see all our Pizza related reviews on FB. In November 2011, we published our list of the 30 Best Pizzas in Cincinnati.Over the coming months we expect to use the Facebook page to facilitate our efforts to update that list.

Sure you could go to Urbanspoon, Yelp, or Cincy Magazine. But why not consult someone who's actually eaten at every pizzeria in Cincinnati. Trust us, we've tried the bad ones so you don't have to.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Quick Take: Topper's Pizza

Topper's Pizza is a Wisconsin-based chain pizzeria that opened its first Ohio location next to the old Papa Dino's on Calhoun in Clifton. This is the type of chain pizzeria we are predisposed not to like. Fortunately, we were pleasantly surprised by this guilty pleasure of a pizza. It reminded us of what Pizza Hut used to taste like when Pizza Hut was good (or at least when it seemed good, when we were in grade school). We ordered a "Tall Boy" (thick crust) pizza with thick-cut pepperoni and sausage.

A Tall Boy Pizza
This pizza was a greasy mess. But sometimes you're in the mood for a greasy mess of a pizza! Let's just say that the cheese was plentiful. As for toppings, the thick cut pepperoni was a great choice. The edges of the pepperoni bent up, forming a tasty cup. The sausage wasn't bad, but not remarkable. The crust was fluffy is a bit soggy on the inside. The sauce was almost non existent, which could be the reason for the extra cup on the side. Overall, it was heavy but a pretty tasty pie. Topper's a fine late night snack after a few brews. In other words, a fine fit for Clifton. 

Topper's Pizza on Urbanspoon

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Delicio Coal-Fired Pizza

This is a place we were very much looking forward to trying. Delicio opened last month as the first coal fired pizzeria in Cincinnati. Our favorite pizzas have been from the great old coal-fired pizzerias on the East Coast. The first American pizzerias, like Lombardi's, Patsy's, Frank Pepe's, and Totonno's, used coal ovens that they inherited from old Italian bakeries. Coal has some properties that make it ideal for pizza: it burns at a very high temperature and doesn't put off much moisture. As a result, coal oven pizza tends to be a hybrid between Neapolitan pizza (usually made in a wood-fired oven) and New York Style pizza (generally a lower temperature gas oven) - A big pizza with a crisp, well-done crust. The style is making a bit of a comeback now, with chains like Anthony's Coal-Fired Pizza. Done right, the crisp yet chewy crust produced by a coal-fired oven is outstanding.

The coal-fired name made us expect something similar to the great old coal-fired pizzerias on the East coast. In sum: the crust was similar, the sauce and toppings were different, but the end result was quite good. Here's Delico's "Perfect Pepperoni" pizza:

The Perfect Pepperoni
Undercarriage shot
I would have liked if they left it in the oven another 30 seconds, for some additional char. Nonetheless, it was one of the best crusts I've had in Cincinnati. The sauce tasted like pure tomatoes, without much added. With the bretzel appetizer, I found it a bit plain. However, it worked well on the pizza. The pepperoni was thick, as if it were freshly cut from a stick. The edges were bent up, creating a cup of deliciousness. We loved that. 

In the classic Midwest style, Delicio really covers the pizza in a thick layer of cheese. That can be bad , if the cheese is rubbery. But this is no Little Caeser's cheese. It was really tasty and we enjoyed it. 
That said, the cheese may be the biggest difference between Delicio and an East Coast coal-fired place. Those pizzas tend to have differentiated patches of fresh mozzarella, rather than a consistent covering. For reference, here's a shot taken last year of Patsy's Pizzeria in Italian Harlem (Frank Sinatra's favorite pizzeria). 
In sum, Delicio offers a fine take on coal-fired pizza - A delicious crust with a healthy amount of toppings. This is a well crafted, hearty pizza without the pretenses of some Neapolitan pizzerias. There is literally nothing else like Delicio in Cincinnati. We recommend trying it - Happy eating! 

Delicio Coal Fired Pizza on Urbanspoon
Patsy's Pizzeria on Urbanspoon
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