Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Last week I need to squeeze in a stop at the grocery store, making a dessert (for the brother-in-laws 30th birthday celebrations on Saturday...of course we tried it just to make sure it was worthy of gift giving), and cleaning the apartment before picking up pizza for pizza night. That led me to choose something close by. We've exhausted to pizza options near our place that aren't chains, so Donatos it was. Donatos is known for their thin crust pizza, but I wanted to keep the playing field as even as possible, so I got a hand-tossed Pepperoni pizza (they also do a thick crust, not sure what the difference is) and a thin crust Margherita pizza. The hand-tossed pizzas are supposed to come with a dipping sauce while the thin and thick crust pizzas do not. The Margherita pizza is one of their fresh mozzarella pizzas while the Pepperoni has their standard aged provolone. I thought I took a picture of the Pepperoni pizza with flash, but apparently I didn't, so I apologize for the poor quality of the picture.

How did they score?

(1-5 scale, 1=worst, 5=best)

Appearance (overall): 3.33
Aroma (overall): 3.63
Taste (overall): 3.42
Crust - 3.67
Cheese - 3.25
Toppings - 3.42
Sauce - 3.17
Pepperoni Pizza (overall): 3.50
Specialty Pizza & Menu Options: 3.67
X-factor: 3.17

As you can see, the scores are a bit low. Why? Well, for one, you should definitely take their word on the thin crust - it's far better than the hand tossed. The thin crust reminded Kevin of the St. Louis style crust from Cosmic Pizza, like a buttery cracker. The hand tossed pizza didn't even look hand tossed, it was too perfectly round. The cheese seemed at least partially imitation (at least on the Pepperoni pizza) since it didn't completely melt. Nik thought that the sauce was too sweet and I thought that the sauce needed more flavor. The Pepperoni pizza as a whole tasted like a mid-range frozen pizza to me, which would've been helped by the buttery garlic dipping sauce we were supposed to get with it, but, unfortunately, did not (and didn't realize it until I got home). Overall, I thought that Donatos was too expensive for the (lack of) quality of the pizza.

Donatos Pizza on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Jean Paul's Paradiso

With this blog post, we are officially caught up! Jean Paul's Paradiso also marks our 25th stop on our quest for the best pizza in Cincinnati! Nik and I often buy bread from Jean Paul's Paradiso (I didn't even realize that they had a restaurant!) at the Hyde Park Farmer's Market, but had yet to try their pizza (although it always looks delicious). Kevin brought us back a Pepperoni pizza and a Blackened Chicken Alfredo pizza. Here's how they scored:

(1-5 scale, 1=worst, 5=best)

Appearance (overall): 3.67
Aroma (overall): 3.75
Taste (overall): 4.08
Crust - 4.00
Cheese - 4.42
Toppings - 4.17
Sauce - 4.33
Pepperoni Pizza (overall): 4.17
Specialty Pizza & Menu Options: 3.83
X-factor: 4.00

(Pepperoni pizza)

(Blackened Chicken Alfredo)

This pizza had some serious cheese! We all loved the abundance of cheese, although it made the pizza SUPER greasy. My overall scores for taste and the Pepperoni Pizza would have been higher if it hadn't been so greasy. The crust and tomato sauce are my favorites so far of all the pizza places we've tried. Kevin thought that the tomato sauce was sweet (instead of spicy like we encounter at most places). Kevin also liked the carmelization of the cheese on the Pepperoni pizza (which I would have to second!).

The Blackened Chicken Alfredo pizza didn't look too appetizing (Nik thought the slices of chicken looked like tongue), but don't let that disuade you because it is really good! The alfredo sauce is a little overpowered by the chicken and all of the cheese, but it taste far better than it looks. This is, by far, my favorite chicken pizza I've EVER had. Although the slices of chicken look weird, I really enjoyed how thin and moist they were, and that they were slices instead of diced. It comes with jalapenos on it, and Kevin chose for them to go light since it sounded like otherwise there would be a lot. If you like jalapenos, don't choose the light version, I think there was a total of 6 jalapeno slices on the entire pizza (I didn't have any on my slice of pizza).

Jean Paul's Paradiso, a friendly hole-in-the-wall joint that is a MUST try.

Jean Paul's Paradiso on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cosmic Pizza

For Nik's turn a couple of weeks ago, he decided to go with a pizza place Kevin and I had not heard of - Cosmic Pizza. Cosmic Pizza not only has NY style pizza, but also St. Louis style pizza. What is St. Louis style pizza? It's a pizza with super thin crust, even thinner that NY style, which is apparently yeast-less. Nik got us a NY style Pepperoni pizza, a St. Louis style Sausage Pizza, and the Thai Chicken pizza.

Here's how the pizzas scored:

(1-5 scale, 1=worst, 5=best)

Appearance (overall): 3.83
Aroma (overall): 4.00
Taste (overall): 4.00
Crust - 4.50
Cheese - 3.25
Toppings - 4.00
Sauce - 4.00
Pepperoni Pizza (overall): 4.25
Specialty Pizza & Menu Options: 4.08
X-factor: 4.00

Cosmic Pizza's NY style crust was thin, thinner than I'm used to for NY style, and somehow the St. Louis style was even thinner than that. However, the two crusts had different textures, the St. Louis style resembling a cracker (maybe because of the lack of yeast?). Nik scored the crust a little higher because of the authenticity, not because he would want all crust to be St. Louis style. Kevin also noted that because the crust was so thin, the pizza cooled off really quickly once on the plate. Kevin really liked the edge crust of the NY style pizza. Nik thought that the pizza was a little salty, but in a good way. I liked the spiciness level of the pizzas.

As for the specific pizzas, Kevin and I both agreed that the Thai Chicken pizza was really spicy and had a LOT of meat on it (a little too much for my taste). I also thought that it was a little floppy/soggy, but had good flavor. It's a very interesting pizza, probably the most interesting one we've had so far (maybe a little too interesting for me, or maybe it was just that it had way too much meat). Their sausage is homemade and is delicious! The sausages looked a little funny on such a thin crust, but overall tasted really good. And Cosmic Pizza scored a little higher in the X-factor category for wearing the puffy white chefs hats (which Nik is sure the kid who worked there probably hates).

All in all, you should definitely try Cosmic Pizza for their authenticity and uniqueness!

Cosmic Pizza on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Noce's Pizzeria

Back in June, Amber suggested we try Noce's Pizzeria, so we added it to the list and a couple of months later, we checked it off! Noce's was a little bit of a drive north, but on a late summer evening, I didn't mind. And everyone there was friendly, so that always helps. For the pizzas, I chose Pepperoni, White Dream, and Hot & Spicy. Here's how they scored:

(1-5 scale, 1=worst, 5=best)

Appearance (overall): 4.17
Aroma (overall): 4.25
Taste (overall): 3.67
Crust - 3.92
Cheese - 3.50
Toppings - 3.92
Sauce - 3.33
Pepperoni Pizza (overall): 3.83
Specialty Pizza & Menu Options: 4.08
X-factor: 3.33

Kevin's favorite was the Hot & Spicy pizza, while Nik thought there was no real stand-out, but it was good. I also agreed that the pizza was good, but not great. I liked that it was NY style, but the Pepperoni pizza was greasy and the pepperoni's were not evenly distributed (as evidenced in the picture above). By now you know my issue with too much oregano in the sauce, which this pizza had. I had high hopes for the White Dream pizza, but the broccoli was overcooked (and seemed like it had been frozen) and there wasn't enough basil or garlic (and they used dried instead of fresh, which is far less superior). The Hot & Spicy didn't have as much flavor as I was hoping either, but it definitely was spicy!

While Noce's Pizzeria has some good pizza options, they just don't live up to some of the other gourmet pizza joints in Cincinnati.

Noce's Pizzeria on Urbanspoon