30 January 2009

Friday Night Slice, Part 1


I love pizza.

I mean, I really love pizza. Glorious, gooey, crunchy, sweet and spicy, piping hot, circular and sinful pizza.

My deep and sincere love for this doughy delicacy has prompted a new journey for me and for the Ulika Food Blog: I am embarking a mission to find the very best pizza in Nashville (and well, its surrounding areas).

To keep the playing field reasonably even, I’ll stick to just the traditional pies and toppings for my comparative review: pepperoni and cheese only. But I will search high and low, tirelessly trying slice after slice in order to find and crown a winner. I’ll post my progress each Friday, beginning this week with two local contenders:

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Sticking with the straightforward toppings, we ordered The Associate: a traditional pepperoni and cheese pie. From the first bite, the cheese took center stage (and well it should, given the fact that the head chef is Bret Corrieri of neighboring Corrieri's Formaggeria). It was creamy, tangy, gooey and delicious with a wonderfully high pull-away factor. Juicy pepperoni slices were scattered cautiously - just a few across the top - but just enough were present to add a slightly spicy flavor.

The sauce was outstanding as well, tangy and slightly sweet with faint traces of rosemary and basil. It was thick without being heavy or chunky and was applied in perfect proportion. The crust was thin and slightly gummy on the bottom with a crispy puffed edge. It had a great flavor with a slight hint of sweetness, beautifully echoing the sweet aftertaste in the sauce.

Overall, this was an excellent slice of pizza. I have to say that I'm surprised at how much I enjoyed it as I had previously written this place off as nothing more than a happy hour hot spot. I know it's early in my hunt, but this is one of the finest slices I've tried thus far.

the dining experience:

MAFIAoZA’s was a loud and lively spot on the Friday night when we were patrons. The busy bar room and patio were overflowing with laughter and clanking glasses. The service started out just fair, but it got progressively better throughout the evening as the bar began to clear out, ending with a table visit by a friendly manager.

The menu includes a host of other Italian comfort foods, including the highly recommended fried ravioli appetizer and a relatively large (and primarily Italian) wine list, sorted by region and grape.

2400 12th Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37204 (map)
Tue – Fri 4:00pm – 3:00am; Sat & Sun 11:00am – 3:00am (closed Mondays)
note: 2 for 1 beer and pizza specials on Tuesday nights
Dine-In and Carry Out

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Joey's House of Pizza

Joey and his brother Manny (who runs the downtown House of Pizza) left Brooklyn in the late 1980s in order to offer us Nashvillians a taste of true New York style pizza pies: pizza with thin and crunchy crust, sauce applied with restraint, huge triangle slices, and yelling among family members. Joey’s crust is a little heavier on the flour having a more doughy, bread-like chew from the very thin bottom base to the softer, porous edges. The crust has a simple flavor, generally good and lacking any surprises. I didn’t finish all of the crust this time, but normally, I do.

The cheese is always excellent with great pull-away, though its flavor was slightly upstaged this evening by the heavy-handed sprinkle of dry parmesan over the top of the pie. The full-bodied sauce was superbly applied however, bushed lightly over the crust leaving small chunks of tomato behind.

the dining experience:

We’ve dined in, but we prefer to take out. Dining in at Joey’s allows you to order a whole pie or order by the slice in the buffet line, but your home surely offers a more comfortable dining room than its open cafeteria-style space. The d├ęcor is the traditional what-you-think-Italy-looks-like scheme with scattered replicas of towers and statues. A large wishing fountain in the center of the room serves as a magnet for the restaurant’s many patrons who are under three-feet-tall and prefer to scream and chase each other rather than eat pizza.

With a price that rivals that of the soulless delivery chains, Joey’s is a huge leap upwards and grabbing one on the way home is hard to beat.

Joey's House of Pizza
locations in Brentwood and Spring Hill
Brentwood: Mon – Wed 11:00am – 6:30pm; Thu & Fri 11:00am – 8:00pm (closed Sat & Sun)
Spring Hill: Mon – Wed 11:00am – 8:00pm; Thu & Fri 11:00am – 8:30pm (closed Sat & Sun)
Dine-In and Carry Out

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Got any suggestions for places that I should cover? Let me know!


Rachel E said...

I love this post! As a fellow pizza lover I've been to both of these places and can't wait to read about more!

Diana said...

Oh, you've hit a sweet spot with me. I love Mafiaoza's and Joey's, too. Another I've tried and loved: Angelo's Picnic Pizza on Murfreesboro Road. If only it wasn't such a haul from my place...

Find a great Chicago-style pizza in Nashville, and you'll be my hero.

A newer place on the west side is Papa Murphy's, a take-and-bake spot. They do deep dish. I'm on the opposite end of the world, so I haven't tried it yet.

Reilly Fox said...

Take a trip up to Long Island (come up for a contest) and I'll take you to some excellent NY pizza joints.


SCS said...

Take the trip to Chattanooga and try Lupi's downtown. Best pizza in this town, bar none.

Unknown said...

Enjoyed reading this and looking forward to more. Being from Knoxville, I am making notes as I read so that I will have a "to do" list when I hit Nashville.

BP said...

Great job, Mrs.! Love it!

Mell said...

Check out Chicago Italian Beef at 5017 Nolensville Pike (Tusculum area). They have thin and thick. I can't quite decide how I feel about it. I've had 3 pies. 1 was great. 2 were forgettable.
Maybe Diana can try it too and let us know.
The last time I had one, Jonathan's in Cool Springs had a good pie.
Love the post and hope you uncover some hidden gems.

Austintatious said...

agree with the comments on Angelo's Picnic Pizza in Antioch (next to Homestyle Bakery) and Chicago Italian Beef on Nolensville Rd (by the aquarium place). BTW, everything I've eaten at Chicago Italian Beef has been very good - they have a crazy big menu.

I also like the fresh garlic/cheese pizza at Pie in the Sky, but the value at the other 2 places is really high.

OG said...

If you haven't you should check out Pizza Perfect on 21st near Vandy. Good NY style, alas, no brick oven. Bosco's has the brick oven, but I find their dough is almost inedible.

Anonymous said...

What Zippys in theGald?