Thursday, June 18, 2009

Stuff to Eat in the Suburbs: Needham—Pizzapalooza

Finding good pizza in Boston can be a complicated business. While some pizzerias focus solely on baking a good pie, others provide more well-rounded fare in the form of tasty sandwiches, paninis and pasta. From greasy to gourmet, you can find almost anything if you know where to look.

Pizzapalooza in Newton has a lot to offer the hungry diner. Their pizza is fairly good, if a little too heavy on the sweet sauce and light on the cheese for this Bostonist’s taste. Not quite deep dish and not quite thin-crust, Pizzapalooza’s pies come across almost like the best French bread pizza you’ve ever had, with a crunchy base topped by lots of chewy dough. You can order a whole pizza or get it by the slice. One of the best (if worst for your health...) things about ordering in the shop is that each slice is a quarter of a pizza!

Individual slices tend to be available in classic flavors, like cheese and pepperoni. However, their pizzas really shine when the chefs get creative in the kitchen. On our most recent visit, we sampled the Hawaiian (pineapple and prosciutto) as well as a creative concoction involving Italian sausage, ricotta, and caramelized onions. The Hawaiian is a perfect balance of sweet pineapple and salty prosciutto, with neither overpowering the other as can often be the case. The Italian sausage, ricotta and caramelized onions combine to create a really complex flavor; the sweet and salty Italian sausage is complimented by the sweetness of the onions and both are surprisingly well accompanied by the creaminess of the ricotta.

But pizza isn’t the only tasty treat you can find at Pizzapalooza. In fact, this Bostonist first fell in love with the restaurant's Panini sandwiches. The Panino Pollo is a simple Panini containing fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, and a balsamic marinated grilled chicken breast. But the first bite tells you that this is no ordinary sandwich; the sliced Italian ciabatta bread is clearly fresh-cut for each sandwich. And all of the ingredients perfectly complement one another, right down to the sprinkle of Pecorino Romano that adds a salty, tangy accent to the sandwich and gives it the final nudge from good to great. Finally, the toasting method leaves the sandwiches a perfect combination of crunchy on the outside and warm and gooey on the inside. The Pollo is, in this Bostonist’s opinion, one of the best paninis in the area.

Another notable menu item is the “Pizzapalooza Cruiser.” This on-the-go option is like a rolled-up piece of pizza but without all the mess. Pizzapalooza uses its regular pizza dough, wraps it around a variety of ingredients, and then bakes them to perfection. The Maserati is a portable collection of complimentary yet complex flavors. Sweet Italian sausage, salty pepperoni, and melty mozzarella cheese are well accented here by Pizzapalooza’s sweet tomato sauce; and best of all this treat is wrapped up and ready to eat!

Though Pizzapalooza is not this Bostonist’s favorite spot for pizza every day, the pizza is good enough to keep us interested. However, the thing that keeps us coming back is the paninis. If you are a fan of crunchy bread and high-quality, high-taste ingredients, then you might want to give the Panini Sandwiches over at Pizzapalooza a try. For your first time we highly recommend eating on their patio instead of getting take out. This sandwich experience is worth savoring!

Originally posted on the Bostonist.

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