This article from Katharine Shilcutt caused half the servers in downtown to lock up. There were plenty of hits and comments. The one from Jim Ayres stood out: "You're right. Tomball supports Bootsie's (along with many ITLers to be sure). The Woodlands may not be as diverse as some areas; it may be a suburb, but it's quite a sophisticated one from what I've seen. Next time I'm in the office up there I'll give Crust a try. May be just what I'm looking for."
His words were inspiring. So, I gassed up the car and headed 40 minutes north to Crust Pizza Co. in The Woodlands (4775 W. Panther Creek Drive Ste 530). My dining companion and I split two small specialty pizzas. To get an even better sample of the place, we decided to half each small with a different specialty selection. On one pizza, we went with the Margherita and The Jerk. The other pizza was a combination of Big Don's Meat and Cheese and Madelyn's Alfredo.
What struck me most about Crust's pizza was that not one particular ingredient stood out from the rest. They were all good. A typical Houston-area pizza has one feature that overshadows the rest of the pie. Maybe it's a doughy crust or heavy toppings. The Crust Pizza Co.'s executed all aspects of the pizza well The crust wasn't extra-thin and crispy, nor was it super-heavy. It was middle-of-the-road in texture, with a wonderful flavor, and a delicious, faint crunch with each bite. All the toppings were fresh and evenly distributed. This is the way a pizza should be. None of the toppings were haphazardly thrown about, nor were any of the sauces glopped on.
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Which of the four pizzas really stood out from the rest? Surprisingly, I'd have to go with The Jerk. I say this, because on paper, The Jerk is not a pizza I'd necessarily order on my own. But the person who constructed this pie knew exactly what he or she was doing. The slight, slow burn of the Jamaican jerk chicken, coupled nicely with the sweetness of the caramelized onions, combined with the crispy bacon and crunchy bell peppers, made for an outstanding pizza.
The Woodlands is fortunate to have a high-quality, non-chain pizza place like Crust Pizza Co. I just wish it were a little closer to my residence. If you're a Highlander, good for you. The rest of us should consider making the drive.