Saturday, June 2, 2012

Clifton Pizza Wars Part II

Date: May 21, 2012
Location: 121 West McMillan Street Cincinnati, OH
Ranking: 17

"Cincinnati's BEST Pizza":  Opened in 1984 by Sally and Tim McLane
When we walked in Pomodori’s front door, the place seemed spacious and fairly empty.  We saw a number of empty tables to the right, as we walked in and up a few steps.  But then, we were seated.  Our table was in a no-frills older dining room facing street traffic.  We were packed in, closely and awkwardly, between a family and a couple, both of which could hear every word we said, and vice versa.  There was also a lot of staring going on; it was hard not to, since everyone was packed into such a tight space.  Despite all attempts to stay engaged at your own table, it was distracting to have everyone in such close proximity.  This might not bother some people, but we found it rather uncomfortable. 

Another thing possibly worth noting about the atmosphere was the presence of flies buzzing around our table.  Judging from our view in the parking lot, they keep a door at the back of the kitchen open (maybe just during hot weather?), which likely lets in a few flies from outside (eh, it happens).  While the flies did not terribly bother us, or our food, we thought this might be something you’d like to know.   

Robyn's pizza, the "Gourmet"

The wood-fired pizzas are offered only in a smaller, individual size, so we both decided on two different options. Robyn’s pizza, overall, was a success.  She ordered the “Gourmet” wood fired pizza, which, according to the menu, included homemade pesto sauce (a blend of basil and herbs, olive oil, pine nuts, and parmesan cheese – yum!) topped with sautéed fresh mushrooms, green peppers, black and green olives, onions, capers, and artichoke hearts, sprinkled with mozzarella and provolone cheeses.   Robyn opted to leave off the capers and green olives as a matter of preference, and they did so without any objections.  The crust beneath the toppings was a thin, pliable sheet of dough that was merely a vehicle for all of the toppings on their digestive journey.  The outer edges of the crust were more pronounced since they weren’t forced to hold the weight of all those toppings, and the wood fired taste was quite good.  As far as the toppings go, they all tasted fine.  The pesto sauce had a quality flavor and, pleasantly, did not overwhelm the rest of the pizza.    

A close-up of Robyn's pizza with the yummy pesto sauce

By recommendation of a friend (blog follower Mike!), Courtney ordered the  Roasted Pepper wood-fired pizza.  This pizza is a rather simple one, involving a few variations of just a couple key ingredients.  There are both roasted red and green peppers and five different cheeses, all on a “fresh pressed garlic and olive oil crust”.  The first bite was one to remember.  The pizza tasted warm and buttery, truly of the “melt in your mouth” variety.  The core of the crust was thin and, as Robyn stated above, really just serves as a shovel for the cheese and other toppings.  The wood-fired outer crust, however, was as delicious as you’d hope it to be.  Courtney really enjoyed this one.  Though we’ve enjoyed trying new pizza styles and fancy toppings throughout this blogging expedition, sometimes sticking with simple is a good choice. 

Courtney's Roasted Pepper pizza (note: does not come with Chapstick)
If we went back, Robyn would definitely try a different pizza.  Even though she liked hers, there were so many varieties and combinations of toppings that sounded like they would be neat to try.  On this visit, other considerations included the Gorgonzola Walnut (title explains it all), and the Leeks, Pancetta, and Goat Cheese (leeks on pizza?!).  Watching the dough prep and handiwork of the pizzas being made in front of the wood-fired oven is a bonus at this place as well.  So, when you need to avoid the awkward eye contact with your neighboring table, you can avert your eyes to the pizza-making techniques on display. 
We can verify the first claim, but the rest...not so much.

Pomodori’s certainly makes some bold claims in their advertising (evidenced by the pictures above), but we are reluctant to agree with them.  We would like to amend their tagline of “best” pizza in Cincinnati to “one of the best.”  It didn’t blow either of us away, but Pomodori’s creations definitely fit the standards of well-made pizza.  The ingredients, the preparation and cooking methods, and the finished product all hold true to the creed of award winning pizzas.  However, this is war, and decisions must be made.  For Robyn, the winner was clear.  Courtney tossed and turned a little before making her decision.  In the end, this round in the Clifton Pizza Wars goes to Adriatico’s. 

Pomodori's Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

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