Friday, October 1, 2010

Attilio's Pizza, Blackwood

There are people who will tell you the best pizza in New Jersey lurks within these unimposing confines. I had lunch with one of them a couple weeks ago, and I went for pizza today with two more of them. I can certainly recommend it; this is the pizza I grew up on (in part when they had the branch in Pitman that later became Venice), and it's probably the best version of same that I can imagine. I'm a little puzzled to realize that I now see too much merit in other pizza styles to dismiss them outright and hail this as the One True Pizza, but it sure was good. Especially with sausages.

A 'pizza place' is a kinda classical thing. You don't want anything other than platic tile floors, plastic-topped press-wood tables, a bare counter, stacks of boxes pre-made for takeout, and some big, dirty ovens. Think of this like a high-end sushi place - stripped of all ornament except perhaps a small vase of flowers, a simple caligraphy scroll, or some postcards from Italy, it lets you concentrate on the food. One thing that came as a surprise at Attilio's was the service - the counter guy was incredibly polite and helpful.

Woot, there it is. Everyone was excited, I kid you not, at the opportunity to eat this pizza fresh in the store instead of having it reheated as slices or brought to the house as delivery. It's true, you need a fair few people to get through a pie like this, and even between the 3 of us (who were eating for 4), it wasn't remotely possible.In retrospect, I think it's interesting that you can't quite tell the thickness of the crust, and with the irregularity of the cheese and toppings you could almost think this was a thinner wood-oven pizza (minus the lack of charring on the crust).

While we couldn't eat the whole thing, it WAS one of those things that makes me want to keep eating until I burst. The sauce, the cheese, the sausage, the peppers...geez.

The other thing that's supposed to be good is the fries - you have to ask for these extra-crispy or you'll run into the problem that a lot of pizza places have, which is that they start a little soft and get soggy quickly. You could fault these a little if you were being very picky - the crisp part is a touch thick. To get them exactly right, you'd probably want to start with a thinner size, or even better fry in cooler oil first to get them cooked before the secondary hot bath to crisp them up. But for a strip mall pizza place, this is as good as it gets (and strip mall pizza places are clearly one of my favorite places to eat.

Best pizza in NJ? Well, opinions differ, but this is one you should form your own about.
(856) 228-5905

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