I am hunting for the perfect pie equation. Pizza pie, that is, not the 3.14159 kind of pi. I'm not looking for a single-serving artisanal masterpiece, either. I'm talking a pie here: a thin, crispy crust, cheese bubbled to a golden brown, sauce that is flavorful and applied with reason and forethought, and quality pepperoni. Okay, the pepperoni is optional for me, but required for my husband so I have to factor it into the equation.
Last Sunday, after taking in the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist exhibit at the MFAH, my husband and I were hungry for more than great art. Hungry but not starving, I suggested Luigi's on Almeda, knowing they offer pizza by the slice. I ordered a slice of cheese ($1.99) while my husband--who used to own his own pizzeria--ordered two slices of pepperoni ($2.39/ea.).
I was impressed. Most pizza outside of New York has one major fault: thick crust. I want no part of a pizza that, upon picking up a hot slice, does not immediately flop over so that the point hits you in the wrist. Luigi's pizza flops right over! The slices are sufficiently thin, and the crust is crispy, but the dough is flavorful enough to qualify as more than a mere topping delivery device. The other factor that impressed me about Luigi's pizza was the ratio of ingredients. I have a major pet peeve when pizzerias pile on the sauce: too much under hot cheese results in a chin-slapping cheese burn below the lower lip, and that is no fun at all. Luigi's gets it right, though, and the sauce, added in judicious amounts, has a great tomato flavor, including that rich note that usually comes from adding just the right amount of tomato paste.
My husband did note that his two slices varied slightly in quality, which you can see in the photo. He attributed this to the fact that the two slices came from two different pies. Both were delicious, but one was just not quite as crispy as the other, and he still declared this our "new weeknight pizza joint." I have to agree. Next time, we'll apply the Upstate New York test and add on an order of Buffalo wings.
(Disclaimer: I grew up in New York. Addendum: I grew up in Upstate New York, so "real New Yorkers"--i.e., from The City--don't think I know anything about pizza, either.)