1. Crust - Does it have char on the bottom? Is it crispy, yet chewy? Thin, but not cracker like?
2. Cheese - Is it melted fully? Is there a good ratio between cheese and sauce? Does it have pull when you bite into it, but not drape down to your plate?
3. Sauce (often overlooked) - Again the ratio. Also, is it zesty and flavorful?
Interestingly enough, many of the great New York style pizzerias don't lie in the city of Atlanta proper, but rather the outlying burbs. In fact, there are a good three or four highly regarded pizza places hiding in the greater Marietta area. I don't get out to these parts often, but I have now managed to try two of the more respected joints: Bella's and Blue Moon. I have heard nothing but praise about Bella's and truthfully, it didn't come close to living up to the hype so Kins and I opted to try Blue Moon last night.
Blue Moon resides in a newer residential condo/apartment complex that has several other eateries on the retail/ground level. There's a Five Guys, Starbuck's (of course), Lime Taqueria, Crepe Revolution (highly recommend this one), and soon to be L'Thai. Before seeing the restaurant I was under the impression that it was another New York style pizza joint, but upon entering I almost immediately threw out that assumption. The place is entirely blue, with blue moons wherever they could stick them including Blue Moon Brewing Company (no relation) umbrellas on the patio. The interior space is a strangely arranged but comfortable enough. I did like that even though another couple was seated opposite us, they were far enough away that it didn't create any awkwardness.
Blue Moon tile on the table.
Usually, I always try to get a slice of cheese as it provides for a good comparison between other pizza joints I've previously visited and honestly, I don't think anything beats a good slice of cheese. However, upon arriving at the conclusion that this was not a NY pizza joint, we opted to make our own pizza with some of our own toppings choices - Pepperoni, Pineapple, and irresistible sounding cayenne-candied bacon. The pie came out pretty quick and looked damned good; They didn't skimp on the toppings but didn't overpower the entire pizza by smothering it either.
Even though this was not NY ‘za, I still opted to use my aforementioned grading scale:
1. Crust – NO char. It was medium in thickness and was still relatively flavorful. You can certainly tell they bake the pizza on one of those perforated pizza pans and we could see the circular dots on the bottom of the crust. It was not too dry or too chewy which left me satisfied.
2. Cheese- Pretty standard issue here. Nice melt and pull to it. I like that it didn’t dry up over the course of the meal.
3. Sauce – Again, standard issue. It was pretty bland with no tang or taste of garlic, basil, or pepper that I have come to love.
4. The topping (since we got three) - All three were good and as mentioned previously, I liked that the toppings were distributed evenly and not smothering the pizza. The cayenne-candied bacon was good but I'm not so sure that I would have picked up on the cayenne or candied composition if I wasn't already looking for it.
One more thing that I appreciated about this pizza; They put some pepper along the crust and I really never got tired of eating it like I often do because of the added flavor. Much obliged!
I would return to Blue Moon only if in the area again, but I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to recommend it to others. It’s a solid choice but it doesn’t satiate my desire for the perfect Marietta slice. NEXT STOP – Pizzeria Fortunato!