This is what happens when you have way too much time, a full tank of gas and a yearning for some really good Neapolitan style pizza :) We wanted to sample as wide a variety as possible so we took the advice of many on this board and added some we have been to. The recent Munchmobile pizza crawl had me itching to try this.
The crawl took us to Essex, Monmouth, Mercer and Middlesex counties in the space of about 7 hours. It was hard work but someone had to do it :) The good news is that all the pizza we sampled were very good, you won’t go wrong at any of them.
At each place we ordered the same pizza, a sausage pie. Why sausage… cuz we like sausage pizza! Here is a quick summary of each place we visited and a final summary at the end. Please note that there is probably no food more “personal” than pizza. The comments that follow are from DW and me, YMMV. Here are our notes in the order we visited. The notes are for the pizza only.
MANCINNI’S COAL OVEN PIZZA, 438 Bloomfield Ave. Montclair. 973-744-4391. Our first stop for lunch. The sausage pizza here is a classic (margherita) with sausage. Crust was crispy with a nice chewy texture and nice flavor. Maybe a bit too much cheese and not enough sausage but pretty good overall. This large pizza was indeed “large” and a very good value. People were super nice.
PORTA PIZZA, 911 Kingsley St. Asbury Park. 732-776-7661. Our second stop, Porta is a nice addition to AP. We ordered the Italian Stallion which has San Marzano tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, gorgonzola, sausage and some long hots. The crust here had excellent flavor, very distinctive. Pie was a bit soggy and some pieces were missing sausage but the flavors from the ingredients were good. I have seen some reports about the help being uninterested but that was not our experience. The servers, especially Meg were great. Nice space and good vibe here.
NOMAD PIZZA, 10 East Broad St. Hopewell. 609-466-6623. Our third stop, we arrived when they opened at 5:00 pm. Ordered the Spicy Sausage which has Italian tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, Simply Grazin spicy sausage, caramelized onions, organic olive oil, organic parmesan cheese, sea salt. Crust was crispy with excellent chewy texture. Very good ratio of sauce, cheese and sausage. Not many nits to pick here. The caramelized onions really brought out the flavors. Nomad has a cult following and it’s easy to see why. Nomad wins the “most original NJ Pizza”. They had a special of NJ Corn Pizza, Kerr’s sweet farmstand corn, wood fired and roasted with Sorrano peppers topped with Straciatella and parmesan cheese. We didn’t try it but maybe next time.
OSTERIA PROCACCINI, 4428 Rt 27 North. Kingston. 609-688-0007. Our last stop of the day. Their sausage pizza is Tartufo di Gianni which has San Marzano tomato sauce, mozzarella, local Martin’s sausage, mushrooms and white truffle oil. Crust was crispy, nice char and excellent flavor. Sauce, cheese, sausage was in good proportion, lots of sausage with excellent fennel topnote. Touch of truffle oil makes this outstanding. Got there just in time, by the time we left there was a long wait.
So, what pie was best. As I said earlier each pie was very good on its own. If we were forced to pick a rank order based on what we sampled today it would be.
For some reason I can't upload the photos, will try again later.
Maybe next time we hit the Trenton Tomato Pie area, Delorenzo's, Papa's etc etc. For now I need a gym workout :)