Thursday, August 23, 2007

Natalie's 'The Quest' Continues

Blogger: Natalie

The Quest continues. Thanks to everyone for the recommendations. They’ve been added to the list of places to try.

Since the last time I wrote, I’ve sampled Olive Garden (pass on it), Stonehorse Café (not bad for an establishment with a menu not centered on pizza) and Umberto’s again (excellent again, and this time they used crumbled sausage instead of sliced). I’d try more, but, as I stated before, my waistline needs a bit of a break between pizza experiences. I did try pizza in Mexico, but that’s not really relevant to this particular Quest.

Anyway, this time Party Brenda, her husband Kyle and I headed over to Mario’s, 3323 E. 51st St., #U. After some confusion about which pizza place it actually was (there’s another NYC pizza place just north on 51st, which has since been added to the list), we finally got on the same page.

A trend I’ve noticed in these hole-in-the-wall pizza places is the lack of customer service, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Mario’s was no exception. No one really acknowledged our presence until we approached the counter to order.

I ordered the medium New York-style sausage, which is the smallest you can buy, and I would later find out it is huge for a medium. Three people could easily share it. Kyle ordered the Sicilian (Mario’s code for deep dish) supreme.

Mine arrived first, both because I ordered first and because the deep dish takes longer to cook. Well, I say “arrived” – they just yelled out the pizza, and you went to the counter to get it.

As I said before, the pizza was huge, but hot and fresh, so you know it’s made-to-order. The sausage was sliced here as well, and they weren’t stingy with it. Brenda and I decided we like the sliced variety better than the crumbled.

After I cut into it (with my plastic silverware, mind you, which sort of rubbed us the wrong way, as I would think they could spring for some real silverware, especially considering pizza cutting usually requires fairly sturdy flatware, but I digress), I found it to be pretty good pizza.

The pros:

  • Hot, fresh and more-than-generously sized;
  • Very cheesy, good ingredients;
  • Excellent crust, with the perfect combination of chewy and crispy;
  • Closer to home than Umberto’s.

The cons:

  • A little soggy/greasy (probably from too much sauce), and, for lack of a better word, a little bland;
  • A staff that was, at best, indifferent to our presence.

Kyle and Brenda didn’t care for the deep-dish crust, but both agreed that my thinner crust pizza was pretty good.

After filling to-go boxes with our leftovers, we debated whether we were supposed to clean our own table. We decided to err on the side of caution and clean up after ourselves, since a staff member hadn’t approached our table the entire time we were there.

So, to sum up: Mario’s makes a pretty decent pizza, but opt for the thin crust. It’s enough to put Mario’s at the number two spot in The Quest for the best pizza in Tulsa. Umberto’s still claims the top spot.

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