Are you ready for some pizza? I should hope so, because this post kicks off two weeks of Pizza Days on Eat It, Atlanta.
Our first destination is a spot I’ve written about last October, Pizzeria Fortunato. Having only one location in Atlanta, and being over in the Vinings/Smyrna area, Pizzeria Fortunato isn’t the most known pizza restaurant in Atlanta, but it did gain some fame this year when it was named the 2008 critic’s choice for best pizza by Creative Loafing.
I thoroughly enjoyed my pizza last time, but this time I was going in with a specific goal – to ruthlessly judge each aspect of the pizza. Judging spreadsheet in hand, I headed over there and ordered a 20″ jumbo Margherita, described on the menu as “sweet crushed tomato sauce with bufalini mozzarella cheese, extra virgin olive oil, and fresh garlic and basil.”
With the critic’s choice in hand, and the promise of real cheese and the traditional Naples toppings, I had high hopes that my first pizza selection was going to be one of my favorites. In addition to my ravenous palate, for this affair I had two pizza tasters with me, and the next day I had a blind judge come to provide an unbiased opinion. How did it fare? Here are the results:
note on the judging: Each judge could provide freeform feedback in the selected categories, then they were given the chance to choose a 0-5 rating of each category. As mentioned in the serious announcement, my goal is not to rank pizza places in Atlanta, but hey, I love competition so I’m going to post the scores. Just keep in mind that each pizza destination will have different judges, and pizza style preference will vary, resulting in useless scores when comparing different restaurants. However, these scores can provide some insight when comparing the preferences of the judges at a single locale.
Dough (average score – 3.5/5)
- “Thin, nice and chewy with good bubbles and crunchy endcrust. Moderate flavor. “
- “Crispy, bubbly, good, but a little tough”
- “Thin but firm, flavorful, good flop, a little salty”
- Blind Taste – “A little soggy, but it was good. Could be because it was reheated”
Sauce (average score – 3.75/5)
- “Tons (too much probably) of crushed sauce, large chunks, sweet with good flavor”
- “A little too sweet, slightly spicy with garlic flavor”
- “Chunky, yummy, sweet, maybe a little too much sauce”
- Blind Taste – “Good flavor” Ed. note: Riveting, I know
Cheese (average score – 2.25/5)
- “Really tasty and real mozz, but hardly any of it.”
- “Not much, bland”
- “Very little, but good flavor”
- Blind Taste - “Too small of an area of cheese, I prefer coverage”
Other Toppings (average score – 2.75/5)
- “Liked the basil, couldn’t really taste it, olive oil was a nice touch too”
- “Basil overpowered by the sauce”
- Blind Taste - “Basil was nice”
Overall (average score – 3.25/5)
- “Wasn’t served hot enough, the pizza was overpowered by the sauce, the slices were huge and the dough was great, but it was out of balance”
- “Real thin and good, served lukewarm”
- “Not really a major standout, highlighted by flavorful cheese and sauce, but the low point was too little cheese and too much sauce”
- Blind Taste - “Would be much better with more cheese and firmer crust”
My Final Thoughts: We have some interesting results, and definite consistencies here. Most thought the dough was very good; thin, chewy, nice crust, though the blind taster thought it was a bit soggy which was surely due to the fact that it didn’t heat up well with some much sauce on it. Everyone thought that the sauce was flavorful, but that there was too much of it and not enough cheese. While I know that a true Italian pizza doesn’t have as much cheese as what we are used to here in the US, I agree that there could have been more of it on slices as large as this. The cheese I did eat was quite good and definitely had real mozzarella flavor. The sauce was tasty, but they put too much on. It caused the slices to be a little soggy, especially near the center of the pie, but the end crust was fantastic. The olive oil was a great touch as well and it added great flavor. I think with just a few changes in proportions, this could easily be one of my favorite pizzas in Atlanta.
Well, that was the first post of the Atlanta Pizza Days series, and I hope it was somewhat informative. It’s been fun so far and I’m already learning a lot about the different styles of pizza in Atlanta. I have 3 other pizza destinations cued up, so look for the next post tomorrow!