4

Buffalo Chicken Pizza at Russo's

^
Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

Houston's second Russo's New York Coal-Fired Pizza (their name is as much a mouthful as their enormous slices), located next to a Charming Charlie's on I-10 at Echo Lane, has only been open for 15 days.  Despite this (and perhaps because of the popularity of their other, well-oiled location on the Northwest Freeway), things seem to be running busily and smoothly.

I dropped in for a quick slice today at a late lunch.  Even though it was 2:00 p.m., there were still a few tables noshing away in the main dining room and a few patrons putting away slices at the bar.  True to the nature of the surrounding neighborhoods, the interior is highly polished -- in that upscale if overdone and sterile way -- with pallets of granite and slate tile having been used to decorate the place.

Sitting at the bar in front of a huge plasma TV showing Fox News (again, not a surprise in this area), I was pleasantly surprised to see that Russo's has a well-chosen selection of microbrews on draft as well as my old Italian favorite, Peroni.  Such a shame I had to go back to work.  After it became apparent that I was having a hard time deciding on a menu item, the very likeable bartender recommended her favorite to me: the Buffalo chicken pizza.

"It's my favorite!" she exclaimed.  "I eat a slice of it every day."  Even though I was wary of ordering Buffalo chicken anything at an Italian place, she was simply so excited that I put aside my doubts and placed my order.  I should have stuck with the pepperoni.

When the pizza came out only two short minutes later, it was obvious that they'd just taken a slice of the cheese and thrown some chicken and red onions on top, then drizzled it liberally with Frank's Red Hot Sauce.  Now, you could put Frank's on nearly anything -- dried out skunk carcass, burnt tires, ball of ripple, mud pie, etc. -- and it would taste good.  This pizza seems to be the exception to that rule.

The tiny, rubbery nubbins of chicken on the pizza were tough and over-seasoned with generic Italian seasoning.  They were clearly destined for some other, more Italian pizza (although I feel just as bad for the person who orders that slice, too).  The red onions were sliced too thinly to have any taste or bite.  The entire thing was such a disappointment, especially when I was sitting in such close proximity to a beautiful slice of pepperoni, only inches away at my fellow diner's elbow.

It's a shame, really, because the underlying structure of the slice itself was fantastic.  It's wonderfully and immodestly enormous, to begin with -- your own personal pan pizza in slice form.  The dough was perfectly cooked with just a hint of that sought-after charring around the edges.  The sauce was good, tangy and savory and not too sweet.  But the toppings were just abominable.

I fully admit that disliking Russo's pizza is my own fault.  I know better than to order gimmicky dishes like this and -- like Alison Cook says -- I know better than to order chicken on pizza.  I'll be back soon, and this time I'm getting that pepperoni.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.