Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Clifton Pizza Wars: Part I

Fifteenth Stop: Adriatico’s
Date: April 11th, 2012
Location: 113 West McMillan Street  Cincinnati, OH 45219
Ranking: 8

Clifton can be annoying sometimes; like, when you are trying to find a parking spot semi-close to your destination.  Fortunately, Adriatico’s offers a parking lot to its guests, about a block down from the actual restaurant.  Just be sure not to accidentally park in the lot belonging to the competing pizza place next door.  We suspect that would be trouble, as evidenced by the handwritten signs in Adriatico’s, warning that you “WILL GET TOWED”.

For a Monday night, this place was pretty busy.  There were a few people waiting around the entrance for their takeout orders.  Adriatico’s is a favorite carryout/delivery option to those in its delivery area.  To this day, it’s an old favorite of UC grads and current students who reside in the area.  Thankfully, we were seated immediately, although in a booth that butted right up to some of our fellow diners.  This made us slightly concerned, as we anticipated trouble concealing our necessary pizza blog note-taking and picture-capturing.  However, all worked out in the end.  For all people know, one of us was interviewing the other for the UC college newsletter.

We had a realization after examining this menu:  we’ve grown especially fond of ranch-based pizzas.  It’s kind of surprising, really.  We never set out loving the idea of a “ranch” pizza, probably dismissing it as a nontraditional, low-brow way to desecrate the idea of a good pizza.  However, our newly discovered fondness is not just due to the ranch sauce itself, but the wonderful taste that results from its usual combination with bacon, chicken, onions, tomato, and spinach. 

Once we saw the Chicken Bacon Ranch pizza on Adriatico’s list of specialties, there was no turning back.  They offer something else worth noting, called the Inflation Buster, which is a selection of 9 toppings for the price of 5.  This also seemed like a fun thing to try, but the downside is that you don’t get to pick or substitute your own choice of toppings, and we weren’t interested in some of the toppings offered (green olives in particular).  Note: for those interested, their “website” is a facebook profile containing a link to the menu and other pertinent information.     

While waiting for our pizza, we shared some pepperoni rolls.  It is easiest to describe them as a fried eggroll casing containing pepperoni, lots of cheese, and pizza sauce. They made both of us nostalgic for the days when BW3 carried an almost identical appetizer back in our teenage years.  Our pizza actually took a fair amount of time to reach our table, so we were happy to have requested this pre-dinner snack, and happily cleaned the plate.  They were crisp, greasy, and gooey, and came with an especially tasty marinara for dipping.  In short, you should get them, too!

On top of our pizza was chicken, bacon, onion, tomato, and ranch sauce.  While this one lacked the spinach that we have commonly seen added to a “ranch” pizza, it wasn’t short on the flavors and textures that make a pizza wonderful. Trust us on this one, it was good.  Well, more than good.  Otherwise, you surely wouldn’t see this pizza hot spot ranking in the single digits.  Here, pizza is cooked in a stone oven.  The crust comes out thick and perfectly cooked, so that there is a crunch when you bite in.  They do not skim on the bacon on this ranch variation, and the onions were fresh and added a nice flavor to the overall taste.  One square was enough for each of us, as we grew prematurely full after that filling appetizer.  The leftovers heated up well in the toaster oven, which made us happy – we almost always make use of our leftover pizza from these trips and hate to waste!

We’ve heard some complaints about the delivery side of Adriatico’s and, in our own dine-in experience, we found the service to be just a little slow.  However, we don’t expect an expertly crafted pizza to arrive instantly at our table.  Conversely, the prime care taken in the pizza’s creation is evidenced by the wait time.  Adriatico’s pizza is exceptionally good and deserves its top-notch placement on Cincinnati Magazine’s ranking.  We will surely be eating here again, and look forward to trying a different blend of toppings in the next round.  

Adriatico's Pizza on Urbanspoon

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