Joined a few PortlandFood.org friends for the opening of Ken's Monday pizzeria. By six o'clock, the line was out the door. Luckily one person had got there early to save us a seat.
They had four pizzas on the menu, along with a caesar. We got all four pizzas: margherita, soppressata, olive and red onion, fennel sausage. Only the last pizza came with a cheese other than mozzarella -- fontina. The margherita was $10, the others were $12, for about a 10" pizza.
As you can hopefully see from the photo below, the crust is nicely crisped with the occasional blackened spots around the outside. The crust itself has a nice bready flavor and a delicate and spongy texture when you move away from the edges and toward the middle. Guessing, I would say that perhaps the crust has a bit of oil in it, more like a foccacia dough than a typical bread dough. I think that might be why it has that bit of sponginess. Personally, I'd like the crust to be a bit thinner, though it's certainly not thick.
However, my only complaint my be exacerbated by a thinner crust. I found the sauce a bit overwhelming, both sweet and intense. Now that I think about it, perhaps it's finished with a bit of balsamic or reduced balsmaic? Definitely seemed sweet, though. It's almost all I could taste on the margherita. On a lesser crust, that'd be a blessing.
My favorite was the soppressata. The slight spiciness of the salami served to balance the sweetness. The sausage, which came with roasted onion, was good, but tasted so sweet it almost seemed like a dessert. The salty and briny olives also did an okay job of balancing out the sweetness of the sauce. However, it's somewhat a shame that balance was needed because the crust is so good, but this balancing of intense flavors only makes the crust disappear even more.
I don't want to be mistaken. The pizzas were good. I don't think they're at the level of Apizza Scholls, primarily because of balance, but hey, Apizza Scholls isn't open Monday (well, not for pizza). I'd like to do a head-to-head comparison with the wood-oven pizzas at Wildwood and Cafe Castagna, which are about the same size and price.
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