Monday, March 19, 2012

Pizza @ Cupola Pizzeria

About once a week, this unfortunate thing happens.  It is called Monday.  Many of my favorite places to eat are not open.  Ones that are tend to not be at the top of their game.  Fish isn't fresh.  And sometimes I get sick of fine dining.  And of foie gras.  And red meat.  Put all these together, and you get ... casual pizza night!

Bauer had recommended Cupola Pizzeria, and Yelpers seemed generally positive, so I put aside my skepticism and we headed there.  It is located inside the Westfield Mall, up on the top floor as part of the restaurants under the dome.  It looks fairly nice, for a mall restaurant.

There were lots of little things that immediately reminded me that I was dining in a more casual place.  My knife was covered in smudges.  The water had a funny taste.  There weren't even shakers of parmesan cheese, chili flakes, oregano, etc available.  But there was an open kitchen in the back, with a giant pizza oven.  It looked possibly promising!  Unfortunately, it wasn't good.
Margherita Extra - buffalo mozzarella, San Marzano tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, pecorino, basil. $14.50.
The standard by which any pizza place should be judged!  Thin crust pizza, topped with tomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella, basil.  This was the better of our pizzas, but wasn't anything special.

The sauce had a very strange tang to it and was pretty sweet.  San Marzano tomatoes should be better than this!  The cheese didn't have a particularly strong flavor, it definitely didn't steal the show as a good buffalo mozzarella should on a margherita pizza.  And there was something really strange going on with salt on one piece I had.  I'm not sure what it came from, as it didn't seem to be in the sauce or evenly distributed anywhere else in the pizza.  Perhaps it was in the cheese?  Or maybe they salted it?  Whatever the case, I had a few bites that were just ridiculously salty and pretty disgusting.  The crust was thin and decent, but could have been crispier.  The basil was the tastiest thing on this pizza.
Arrabiata – pancetta, chili peppers, San Marzano tomatoes, oregano. $15.50.
This was downright awful.  Same crust, same tomato sauce as the margherita.  Nice kick from the chili.  But the pancetta was horrible, horrible, horrible.  And the pizza was absolutely loaded with it.  It wasn't just a topping, it was the entire thing.  Removing it didn't really improve things, as this didn't have cheese on it, so then you were just left with mediocre crust and some strange sauce.  But back to that pancetta.  It was incredibly fatty, slimy, soggy, just really, really nasty.  It didn't taste good at all.  No one was willing to eat another slice of this pizza, and left the restaurant saying they weren't remotely full but didn't want anymore, even though we'd paid $15.50(!) for this horrible thing.  One person said they'd only touch it again if they were stranded and starving.

Do not recommend.
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