Russo's New York Pizzeria Mostly Delivers with Dinner Delivery

My husband and I live in a food delivery no-man's land -- we always seem to be "just outside" of the delivery area for many restaurants. A couple of weeks ago -- starving, and with a refrigerator full of pepperoncini and expired eggs -- we hit the Internet, hoping to find a pizza delivery. We happened upon Russo's New York Pizzeria, whose Midtown location delivered in our area. Score! Hopefully.

(Side note: Star does deliver to our house, as does Luigi's, but sometimes you just want to see what else is out there, you know?)

We did that thing where you are absolutely starving and order everything on the menu that looks good: flatbread pomodoro with tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, and basil ($7.95); cucumber salad with roma tomatoes, feta, olives, red onions, garlic, and olive oil ($6.95); margherita pizza (from the specialty menu) with pepperoni ($19.95); gnocchi Bolognese ($10.95). We figured, what the hell? With that much food, something has got to be good, right?

Right! First, we are well aware that this was an obscene amount of food, but my husband was getting on a plane at 4 a.m. the next morning, and I knew this would be lunch -- and let's face it, dinner -- for the next day, too. So healthy, I know. I'm still paying for this meal, calorically.

The first thing we noticed when we opened the pizza box was the oil -- there is a lot of oil on this pie. I know it says "extra virgin olive oil" in the description on the menu, but wow -- OIL. And did I mention garlic? Because GARLIC. The thinness of the slices was pleasing, but between the oil and the time spent in the box during delivery, the crust was quite soggy. The flavors were great; the fresh basil and tomatoes cut through the richness of the cheese and oil. And as strong as the smell of garlic was, the taste was not overpowering. (Keep in mind I have a high tolerance for garlic.) I don't think this pie held up well with delivery, but I would order it again if I went in to Russo's and sat down for dinner. The New York-style brick oven pizzas don't seem to include oil as a main component, so that might be a better option for delivery.

I really enjoyed the flatbread, which was well-seasoned with Italian herbs, and liberally sprinkled with parmesan cheese. I dredged that bread through the gnocchi sauce, which was much spicier than I had anticipated. The gnocchi were definitely not my grandmother's, but they were not the awful gummy mess I have come to expect from most casual restaurants. Russo's gnocchi were of decent texture, and the sauce was very, very tasty -- to be honest, it tasted more like a spicy red pepper sauce than a Bolognese to me, but that's fine because I prefer vegetable-heavy sauces.

We didn't even get around to the cucumber salad, which I ate the next day for lunch along with leftover flatbread. You can't really go wrong with feta/cucumber/tomato/olive/bread combos, and I love any salad that goes light (or omits) lettuce.

I'm intrigued enough to want to actually go to Russo's and sit down for a meal. We ordered from the Midtown location, but does anyone have a preference from the four 22 Russo's in Houston? We'd love to know your favorite, and why.

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Christina Uticone