The new location of Russo's Coal Oven Pizza on I-10 near Echo is not afraid to char the crust a little. The oven was running at 660 degrees when I stopped in at 3:30 in the afternoon. I ordered a large size pie with Italian sausage. The hand-thrown dough was cooked directly on the stone floor of the oven for a few minutes until it got a little blistered. Then the pizza man moved it onto a steel pizza pan to keep it from getting any blacker. I wanted to stop him when he burst the yeast bubbles with the cutting tool, but I kept my mouth shut.
The resulting pizza was incredibly crisp with a lightly blackened crust. The Italian sausage was very spicy with a nice fennel aroma. At $18, this ain't a cheap pie, but for coal oven pizza lovers, it's worth every penny. To get the full effect, eat it at the restaurant while it's still piping hot.
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