After a run of disappointing adventures in the last week or two (e.g. Anam Cara, The Snack Bar O Senor Ramos), I finally struck gold at Armando's. I had heard it mentioned once or twice before, but I was finally sprung to action by Tony Maws' mention of Armando's as one of his favorite restaurants in the area.
As I learned this evening, an Armando's cheese pizza is, indeed, a wonderful thing. If my visit was any indication, although it may not quite reach the heights of the Connecticut giants, it certainly deserves mention on the short list of great pizza pies in the Boston area.
Like all great pizzas, the sum is greater than its parts. But, the most important of those parts, the crust, was the star of the show. First, it was yeasty. Wonderfully yeasty. Next, it was pleasantly light and airy. Not ghostly. Pleasantly light. Finally, if it may have been a bit on the soft side, this could easily have been corrected had I asked them to cook it well done (or, as at Randy's Wooster Street - "burn it!"). The sections where the crust had been charred black were, indeed, heavenly.
The cheese and sauce play adequate supporting roles, which is all that is necessary to render this a great pie. The area under the cheese forms that smooth, slick surface that many of us crave in a great pizza.
Finally, the place is easy to like. It is a classic pizza dive with no waiters or waitresses, where you order at the counter and most customers get their pie to go. It is also warm and friendly. Armando recognized EVERY ONE of the many customers who came and went while I enjoyed my pizza at one of the four booths. It won't be long before he recognizes me, too.