Recently I read an article about pizza in the NWA magazine when I was flying back from upstate New York. Punch Pizza in the Twin Cities was listed as the best and Pizza Bianco in Phoenix as runner-up, neither of which we've tried. We decided to try our own experiment and Saturday night we dined at Punch Pizza.
As you enter the restaurant you are facing the 800 degrees F. wood-burning oven that cooks pizza in 90 seconds. Aside from its function, the oven is beehive shaped and covered in one inch mosaic tiles and rises from the floor to the ceiling. After you place your order, you get a number and find a table. The pizzas are cooked so fast you barely have time to sit before warm pizza is whisked to your table.
We had a basic Pizza Margarita and Pizza Siciliana and both were outstanding. My favorite part was the crust, which was thin but chewy. I don't usually like thin crust because it's too often cracker-thin. Siciliana Pizza is topped with prosciutto, artichoke, picholine olive and fresh basil.
The Mt. Vesuvio tomatoes were juicy and bursting with sweet concentrated tomato flavor. Traditionally these tomatoes are picked when they are ripe and stored until winter to deepen their flavor but Punch has developed their own process.
Next trip to Phoenix we're heading to Pizza Bianco. We tried once before but the restaurant was closed because the owner/chef was out of town. We've been told to expect to wait a while and that's OK as long as it's not 100 degrees F. out!