Week 35 of 2014’s tour is also Stop 1 of Tour de Pizzannati, the newest tour as brought to you by myself, Swarles Barkley, and various guests who will join us throughout to determine which place in Cincinnati serves the best cheese pizza. I’ve always gotten a lot of crap for loving plain pizza the way I do, but Swarles and I wholeheartedly agree that, if a restaurant cannot master the basics, how can it be considered quality? (Same goes for ice cream in my opinion.)
Surprisingly enough, I had never been to this Cincinnati institution, but it had appeared on my List for a long time. Thankfully, too, Swarles and I had been plotting the beginning of the tour, and decided it would be a great place to jumpstart our cheese pizza journey.
The Suspects: Swarles, Friend From Detroit (FFD), FFD’s Friend, BK, and myself.
The Goods: In standard Linsey fashion, I opted for breadsticks to start. With ranch dressing, garlic butter, and pizza sauce to dip—don’t be silly. In addition to breadsticks, the place served tater tots. TOTS, GUYS.* So we just knew that a platter of cheese-covered tots was necessary. For the main event, and for the namesake of the tour, the five of us also got two medium pizzas: one hand-tossed with cheese and another with Sicilian (thick) crust with half cheese and half pepperoni and sausage (that was for BK, who all but refuses to eat plain pizza).
The Verdict: I liked Adriatico’s. I wasn’t blown away by it like I expected to be and considering how much everyone hyped it up. It was really good, though, and I especially liked the tater tots, hand-tossed crust, and ranch dressing.
Although it didn’t really live up to the hype, I generally liked Adriatico’s, and the ranch dressing was everything I could have wanted and so much more. Also, TOTS, GUYS.
*I may have to create a tour based strictly on restaurants that serve tater tots because I love them so.
[Editor’s Note: I decided to make a more concrete way of scoring every cheese pizza based on consistent criteria for each place. Out of 5.]
Cheese (How much and how delicious?) – 3/5
The cheese was good, but there wasn’t quite enough. It didn’t even meet the crust all around each of the pies.
Sauce (How much and how did it taste) – 3/5
There was more than I’d like, and it was just okay. Next time I’ll get light sauce.
Crust (Style of crust and texture) – 3.5/5
We got one hand-tossed pizza and one thick crust pizza. The thick crust, in my opinion, was mediocre. I much preferred the hand-tossed.
Overall Flavor (How did it all come together?) – 3.8/5
It was good enough. I was not nearly impressed with Adriatico’s as I expected to be, but it was still good.
Temperature (How was the pizza cooked?) – 3/5
I love my pizza just cooked enough; cheese with little to no brown. Adriatico’s cooks its pizza beyond that.
Ranch (This won’t break a place, but it could very well make one.)
The ranch was good. I definitely liked it and thought it was a great addition to our breadsticks, which would have otherwise been underwhelming.
Other (Notes go here.)
TATER TOTS! Easily the best part of the meal.