Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Return to Serious Pie

Finally made it back to Serious Pie to give it a second chance after the first underwhelming visit. My brother joined me despite the pouring rain, and together we tackled six of the eight mini-pizzas available on the Happy Hour menu. My overall reaction? More positive than the first visit, absolutely. I still don't hesitate to say this is not great pizza, though. Not yet.

Some thoughts:

1.) The crust still bugs me. It tasted a lot better this time around than it did before, but the underside is still caked with a thick layer of flour and cornmeal, so that when it enters your mouth, it flakes off and forms a kind of mush on your tongue. So bizarre, and not pleasant.

2.) The Margherita this time was a hundred times better than the one I ate on my first visit. There was an ample amount of shredded parmesan on top to provide the saltiness that was missing from the first Margherita, and the sauce was heavily herbed, whereas the first Margherita's was a flavorless red paste.

3.) I enjoyed the sausage and peppers pie on my first visit, and once again, it was the pizza of the night. Great fennel-spiked sausage and peppers that deliver just a hint of heat.

4.) Pumpkin and squash are not idea pizza toppings. Both aren't particularly strong in the flavor department, and the mushy texture just felt wrong in my mouth. We tried two pizzas with these gourds, the pumpkin with pork belly and the delicate squash with roasted garlic. Both needed the addition of the second topping.

5.) The truffle cheese and roasted mushroom pizza was surprisingly sweet, and light on flavor. The sweetness came from the cheese, overpowering the mushrooms. Nothing memorable.

6.) The most interesting pizza of the evening was the guanciale, soft egg, and Beacon Hill arugula pie. The egg was cooked through, which I appreciated, as I don't particularly enjoy runny whites. Tasted great, too. Nice fresh arugula, slightly peppery. The pizzaiolo was pretty stingy with the guanciale, though. It really needed that pork flavor to tie the other two toppings together.

In conclusion, it appears that Serious Pie is like many other pizzerias, in that consistency varies greatly from one day to the next. My first visit here was a massive disappointment. My second visit...not totally redeeming, but a vast improvement. If they could cut down on the pantry-full of flour and cornmeal inundating the bottom of the crust, they'd be taking another huge step in the right direction.

I apologize in advance for the quality of the photographs below; they weren't taken with my usual camera, and we were seated in the very back corner of the restaurant, which was darker than a black steer's tookus on a moonless prairie night.

Truffle Cheese & Roasted Mushrooms; Margherita
Delicata Squash & Roasted Garlic; Pumpkin, Pistachios, & Pork Belly
Sausage & Roasted Peppers; Soft Egg, Arugula, & Guanciale


  1. I looove guanciale...why don't we see it on more pizzas?

  2. @Maggie: I've loved guanciale ever since I first had it on the "meat lover's" pie at Mozza in L.A. I agree; it's vastly underused.

    Come to think of it...I don't think I've made a homemade pie with it yet. Time to head to the butcher's.

  3. I agree that consistency varies. I have especially noticed it during Happy Hour vs. regular service.

  4. Your comments are interesting on your return from Serious Pies and their pizzas.

  5. I have to say, squash CAN be an ideal pizza topping(and I've always had it paired with some sort of pork). In Torino on the pizza I had, the squash was grated and put on raw along with the slices of pancetta. I've never seen anyone do it that way in the U.S., it's usually done the way it is pictured at Serious Pie.

  6. @Anonymous: I think you're on to something there. Squash as it's served at most pizzerias (indeed, all that I've visited) is cut in thick slices, completely throwing off the balance of any slice on which it's been placed. Now, grated squash, that sounds much better. Keep it light and thin so that it augments the rest of the flavors rather than overpowers it. I hope someone reads this and starts the trend here in the U.S.!