But what's really shocking to me, is how NEO was significantly better than any of the top 25 pizzas that headed up Alan Richman’s GQ list of this past summer, at least out of the six that that I've tasted so far anyway, which happen to include his numbers 1, 4 & 5. But let's be frank, Richman missed most of Chicago's best anyway, and he completely blew past South Eastern Wisconsin and St Louis as well. So one really has to wonder just how complete was that list anyway?
But what's so surprising about the omission from the Richman list, is that almost all his top pizza picks were dominated by one specific style of pizza: the Neapolitan.
NEO Pizza may just be the best Neapolitan style out there. NEO in fact, recently won head to head in an international pizza contest, going up against other top pizzerias in Atlantic, NJ! In other words, so they already have a winning reputation (just check out NEO’s own website: (http://www.neopizzari.net) .
Also equally surprising is that NEO has somehow escaped the so called pizza mavens of the East Coast at the Slice pizza forum as well. I'm thinking word about this great place has somehow been suppressed and just not gotten out, but who ever really knows with these sorts of things right?
Now about the pizza.
Even though for lunch they sell a couple variations of their pizzas by the slice, I ordered a large sausage & pepperoni made fresh. The time out of the oven was fast, but my pizza was an obvious masterpiece.
The crust is really the highlight. It’s airy, crisp, thin, light and tasty all at once. It’s a delicate dough with a crispy top surface, and it has a beautiful crispy cornmeal dusted bottom. Not a single bite was wasted or undesirable, and the high quality cheese and fresh ingredient toppings were in perfect balance with a delicious tasting pizza sauce, I was really impressed.
The pepperoni was nice and toasted around the edges the way I like, but I felt that the veal sausage was just a bit too mild for my taste. A spicy pork Italian sausage with nice fennel finish would have really put me in heaven, plus I would have greatly preferred that the sausage wasn't sliced from grilled links too, but really that’s really my only complaint. This pizza has so many other redeeming qualities, that I can only imagine that with any other toping combination, I'm sure that the perfect pie is really available here.
The restaurant itself is really nice, with plenty of parking out front, they have a full bar with TV’s and a carry out counter up front as well. The staff is efficient and attentive, and the prices seemed reasonable, especially given the quality of the product.
This is really a great Pizzeria, and the fact the so many folks haven't found it yet, is to us pizza lovers an advantage. Unlike at Richman’s number one (Great Lake in Chicago), you wont have to wait in line for hours, be told that only three pizza options are on the menu for the day, and then not be able to get seated once they begrudgingly make it. See? Being Richman’s number one really isn’t all its cracked up to be…
Taste = 9
Experience = 9
Value = 9
Score = 9