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Searching for a Slice: Lunch Buffet at Star Pizza on Harvard

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Star Pizza has been at the top of our pizza rotation since we moved to Houston last year, so my recent lunch visit wasn't my first experience with their pie. We love Star because they deliver; we seem to live in a pizza non-delivery vortex, so we enjoy that Star will bring us our food when we're too lazy/hungover/tired to drive. This was my first time eating in at Star, and I was happy to see that they had outdoor seating--perfect for a working lunch on a nice afternoon.

I showed up very hungry and ready to order a couple of slices and maybe a salad. The waitress let me know about their lunch buffet: $8.95 includes a buffet with eight kinds of pizza, a full salad bar, an iced tea, and bread sticks or French bread (bread served upon request). According to my waitress, the lunch buffet recently expanded to include some of the specialty pizzas on the Star menu in addition to standards like cheese, pepperoni and Hawaiian.

The buffet is set up in an inside dining room: pizzas on a hot counter, the salad bar set up separately on an adjacent cart. There was a good selection of pizzas, although I wouldn't have minded labels so I could be sure which ones were which; most of the time it was obvious what the toppings were, but I'm familiar with the Star menu -- someone who isn't might appreciate labels, too. From the eight, 12-inch pies to choose from, I went for a slice of pepperoni (the gold standard when judging pizza) and a slice of the Salsa Verde pizza from the Star specialty menu: spicy tomatillo sauce with roasted poblano peppers, pan-fried garlic, and feta cheese. I added a heaping salad to fool myself into thinking I was eating a healthy lunch.

I've previously written about "pizza physics" -- the idea that pizza size changes the taste and texture of a pizza via differing proportions of ingredients -- so I was curious about how that would play out in a 12-inch small at Star. In my opinion, they deliver an acceptably crispy crust, even with the smaller pizza size. The pepperoni pizza is delicious, but the Salsa Verde blew me away. The sweetness of the pan-fried garlic and roasted poblano, plus the smokiness of the roasted pepper and the salty feta was just plain fun to eat. My waitress recommended ordering it with chicken the next time we get a full pie, which I think is a great idea -- maybe add a bit of sour cream, too.

The lunch buffet -- with great pizza and fresh salad bar offerings that include Star's should-be-illegal-it's-so-good pasta salad -- has solidified Star's place in my top-tier pizza joints in Houston. The lunch buffet is served Monday-s through Fridays, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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