Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, a New York food writer asked me, "Is the Grimaldi's in Houston as good as the Grimaldi's in Brooklyn, or did they just license the name?" I told her that was the very question we were on our way to answering. It was also a great excuse to go to the original Patsy Grimaldi's for lunch. For the sake of comparison, I'd eat the quintessential New York coal oven pizza and take a few pictures before I sampled the branch of Grimaldi's that just opened in Sugar Land.
I ordered a small pie with sausage. The two unique features of the Brooklyn Grimaldi's pizza are the coal oven crust and fresh mozzarella. In truth, the two work against each other to some extent. The coal oven makes for an extremely cripsy crust with a bit of char on the bottom, But the fresh mozzarella sheds a lot more water than the rubbery kind we are used to. So in order to really enjoy a Grimaldi's pizza, you have to eat it while its piping hot--and risk burning the roof of your mouth. The pizza I got was stellar--even it it got a little soggy in the middle because I took so long taking pictures.
I spent a little time checking out the operation of the coal oven, the dough handling technique and the timing how long each pizza spent in the oven. Stay tuned for a full report and comparison of Brooklyn Grimald's and Sugar Land Grimaldi's next week.