Some of the Twin Cities' most-loved pizza joints are being put to the taste test, and a few favorites are straight-up bombing.
The crew behind Barstool Sports are in town for the Super Bowl, and are taking time to do video reviews of cherished places like Cossetta and Pizza Luce.
The way it works: Barstool boss Dave Portnoy visits each restaurant and employs the one-bite test (or two or three bites sometimes) on a slice of cheese pizza, with no additional toppings.
Is this the best way to review a great, innovative pizza joint like, say, Young Joni? We actually agree it's really the only option for a true apples-to-apples comparison. A good pizzeria should master the basics, and a solid cheese slice should be able to stand on its own. Portnoy, aka Davey Pageviews, calls a plain cheese pizza “old reliable.”
“You can set your watch to it,” he says.
OK, so let’s see what he has to say about Minnesota pizza, and then critique his critique. Here are his reviews, mostly in order from worst to best. One note, Portnoy was in Minneapolis this past summer for a Kyle Rudolph celebrity golf tournament and basically fell in love with Black Sheep’s coal-fired pizza. Thus, he just can’t stop comparing each slice to the almighty Black Sheep.
His take: Ouch. Minnesotans love Pizza Luce. He thinks we’re fooling ourselves and tried to fool him by suggesting this was one of the best pizza makers. “Shame on [you guys],” he says. “Don’t make me turn on you, Minnesota.” Score: 5.3
Our take: Davey might be onto something here, guys. Is there a reason Luce loads so many crazy toppings onto its pizzas? Are they trying to hide the crust’s deficiencies? Think about it.
Find it: He visited the downtown location at 119 N. 4th St., Mpls.
His take: This spot is an offshoot of the beloved Crescent Moon Bakery and its football shaped pizzas. Seems like a good place to start, since he’s in town for the Big Game. His take: Even though its shaped like a football, it’s “not great football pizza.” Score: 6.8.
Our take: You know what, he’s pretty much right. It’s fine pizza, shaped like a football. But that’s about all.
Find it: 1517 Como Av. SE., Mpls.
His take: This was the No. 1 most recommended place, Portnoy said. He digs the Italian feel of the giant building. “It’s like the Godfather in here.” It’s a heavy slice, so much so he calls it “A Minnesota mush bobsled slice.” He adds: “Feels like something I could get at a Minnesota Wild game” and then goes on a tangent about how the “North Stars” was a better name. Not a good sign. Score: 6.8.
Our take: This is a heavy, greasy slice, no doubt. Tons of cheese. It’s a comfort-food slice. Tastes great going down. Makes you sleepy later.
Find it: 211 7th St. W., St. Paul.
His take: This video was actually posted in the summer, but it’s pertinent to all these reviews, because he talks about Black Sheep IN EVERY SINGLE ONE. He loves this pizza so, so much. “Cheese dripping like a glacier!” For him, the pizza is so amazing it instantly elicits memories of Minnesota’s greatest sports moments (Puckett! Tarkenton!). “Don’t sleep on Minnesota!” Score: 8.3.
Our take: Dang it, he’s right again. Black Sheep is fantastic pizza. Always expertly cooked in that coal-fired heat, creating a complicated bite that’s both chewy and crispy.
Find it: Three locations in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Our take: You can’t go wrong with Ann Kim’s northeast Minneapolis hot spot. Hey, we named it best new restaurant of 2017.
Find it: 165 13th Av. NE., Mpls.