In The News - Restaurant Review: Middletown Pizza Delivery

"See, we devour the plates on which we fed..."

The above quote is from the Aeneid, but pizza actually saw its earliest roots in Greece, where large round breads were used as plates with simple spices and potatoes on top (no tomatoes in 600 B.C.). It wasn't until the late 19th century that cheese and tomatoes were added to create something similar to what we eat today, which really hasn't changed much in over 100 years (thank chef Raffaele Esposito).

Thus, it is with great care that I approach the delicate task of criticizing this dish, one that has become dear to my heart this year. Only pizzerias with a delivery service were selected, and each pizza was tested with one to seventeen bottles of carefully selected ale (Pabst Blue Ribbon). The type of pizza selected: cheese. Plain ol' cheese.

Empire Pizza

This is the only pizza I had not tried when I ordered, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was not only quickly delivered, but quite good. The crust is solid, less floppy than many with a good crunch, but has a starchy taste and is not worth eating past the cheese and sauce. The cheese itself is good, a bit sweet and still very smooth, but the sauce overpowers it a bit with a strong taste of oregano. My overall impression is that this pizza is vastly superior to Domino's and other chains, but doesn't stack up to some of the real heavy hitters.

Gianni's Pizza

I first suspected this ramshackle pizza hut to be a mob front, soon remembering that the Italians make some damn good pie. First, the crust: from the perfectly puffed golden edges to the still-crispy center, the Gianni's crust is really superb - no easy task, and unmatched in Middletown. The sauce is also quite good. Having passed up the temptation to sweeten their sauce, Gianni's opted for a gentler, smokier taste that's easier on the palette, allowing the cheese (and any other toppings) to take center stage. The cheese was great, a little flat - but the crust, oh the crust!

Another item to check out on the menu is the garlic bread with cheese. At less than four dollars for ten pieces, it's an affordable addition to an already inexpensive meal. The two people I've seen working in the restaurant are quite nice - I suggest stopping by sometime and saying hi. The price of this pizza is also a serious advantage, making it by far the best value in town.

Jerry's Pizza

This is the pizza that everyone seems to rave about on campus. And they do so with good reason - this pizza is ridiculous, although the delivery time can be long. But trust me: it's worth it. First, I must admit that I miss the Gianni's crust every time I eat Jerry's, as it becomes difficult to handle toward the middle. With that off my chest, allow me to turn to pride and joy of the Jerry's pizza, that is, the cheese. Jerry's cheese is one of a kind. It is surprisingly complex, a smooth and perfect complement to the sweet but not sugary sauce, which provides the perfect platform for that addictive dairy product.

I don't use the word addictive lightly here. I've eaten this stuff way past the level of enjoyment, well into the creepy realm of the glazed look on one's face, hope no one sees you grab another piece, no room for another beer land. And it is only with a profound and ultimately confusing regret that I pass up beer for pizza. Well done, Jerry's. Well done.



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