Earlier in my blogging career I began to document our search for the best pizza here in Houston. We are still on that search and have several places to document, but I don't think we will get much closer than we did tonight. To celebrate my birthday we made the trek out to The Woodlands to try Grimaldi's. We had heard about Grimaldi's in hushed tones as if it was a secret that it had been transplanted down to our relative neck of the woods. It is a direct chain from New York and they pride themselves on being some of the best pizza worldwide. According to their website they even have the water tested frequently in each nationwide location and adjust it as needed to achieve that perfect New York taste in the dough. Their attention to detail was evident as well when our server informed us that if we want to come back, not to do so between the hours of three and four as they shut down the ovens and clean them each day. I was delighted to give it all a try.
The ambiance was actually kind of perfect. The restaurant is two stories which felt very authentic and was decorated in brick and red and white checked tablecloths. The service was good. Our server gave us a rough explanation of the menu and noted a few of his favorites along the way. We got everything we asked for in a fairly timely manner, especially considering the fact that fresh pizzas simply take time to make. We both partook in a Peroni on tap which is our favorite pizza beer, light and crisp without a lot of extra flavor to take away from the pizza. We ordered caprese and a Mediterranean salad to start. The salad was typical and fine. The caprese was excellent. The mozzarella was a great balance between firm and milky and had just enough salty cheese flavor. The basil leaves were huge and covered the entire slice of tomato (hot house sized) and the tomatoes were perfectly firm and ripe. I was really impressed in how good the tomatoes were, that they didnt just grab some tomatoes and hoped they tasted good, they were actually good tomatoes. For pizza we went with our standby toppings, pepperoni and onion, as we feel that the best New York style pizzas need the simplicity of one or two toppings rather than multiple, supreme toppings. With the first bite I automatically noted how great the sauce was, tart and seasoned well, and how they used perfectly thin slices of fresh mozzarella as the cheese. The pepperoni was the small circle kind which was good because it got extra crispy as the pie baked. The onions were scattered too sparsely to notice, next time I would ask for double the onions. The crust was almost perfect and actually got better with our second slice once it had cooled a bit. I told Mattie it was almost disappointing because two or three tweaks (stretched a bit less to make a slightly thicker, chewier crust and adding a pinch of salt) would have made it pretty close to perfect. It was enjoyable, but Lombardi's is still king in our books.
Overall I give it an A. We will definitely return. So a pretty good find and friends that haven't been to Lombardi's will never know what they are missing. This is a definite must go to for the New York experience.
I think Keegan would love for us to return. She chowed down on caprese and kalamata olives and asked for more!