Thursday, February 19, 2009

Reuben pizza

Pantry Pizza has been open a few months now. They've settled in, won a clientele, and gotten the kinks out of their routine. They are at 931 Dot Ave. It's a busy place and an appreciated addition to the neighborhood. As with many other things, I am a traditionalist when it comes to pizza. I like red sauce, mozzarella, and one topping, two at most. The pizza chefs at Pantry have other ideas.

They make a good, thin crust pie and the options are exhaustive with mostly top shelf ingredients. I have yet to eat just an medium onion pizza or even my favorite, anchovy, at Pantry. I always get cajoled into splitting one of the large specials. Here is where the chefs' creativity comes into play. An extensive menu is posted on the right hand wall that lists a number of combinations. They all sound tempting in theory, but my hackles get raised when I read the ingredients until I am eventually outvoted.

Be warned. I do not like to eat chicken to begin with and I think chicken on a pizza is unnatural. I also think that, in most cases, a pizza should be red, not white. The pie called "Stuck in New York," though it doesn't contain chicken, is an experiment that maybe needs to be perfected. This is a white pie featuring the shop's proprietary "three cheese blend" in lieu of plain mozzarella. It contains pastrami, caramelized onions, Swiss cheese, and Russian dressing. Where I come from, if the mayonnaise and ketchup don't have relish mixed in, it is French dressing, but I don't think either belongs on a pizza.

The "Stuck in New York" was not a group favorite. After the first slice I opined that maybe it would have been better to go with genuine sauerkraut rather than the caramelized onion. There were too many cross currents at play. We had the leftovers for dinner and I added slices of tomato prior to reheating it. It was better, but still nothing anyone voted to order again.

This is no sleight to Pantry Pizza. They are obviously proud of their work. The chef comes out and lifts the lid of the box for customer inspection at point of purchase and discusses the nuances of what he is attempting. This much craft and experimentation cannot be a waste and will enventually produce an Olympian pie. The lady who takes the orders is a gem. I suspect if I ordered something pedestrian, I would be happier than happy spelled out in capital letters. They deliver, so if you want to taste the cutting edge of pizza research, please call 617-282-0033. You may be more adventurous than I am.

If you are more adventurous than I am, please order the "Stuck in Idaho" which consists of a pizza topped with baked sweet potatoes, grilled chicken, caramelized onions and the ubiquitous three-cheese blend. I'm curious to know what you think of it.

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