The Couch Tomato Cafe
102 Rector Street
This week we packed up our tight jeans and stupid tattoos and hit up Manayunk for what the natives praise as some of the best gourmet pizza in the area. We also brought along a young jedi apprentice-guest reviewer to crush a few slices with us while we sat back and quoted american psycho. Steve Varallo has supported and backed the doughboys from just about day one, so it’s our pleasure to welcome him aboard for this review. If any of you morons want to tag along with us as a guest reviewer, please let us know. We’re always looking for fresh meat. So, without any further ado, this is the doughboys approved “couch tomato extravaganza.” – J&J
Since I can remember, pizza has been a huge part of my life. Growing up in an Italian household, my siblings and I were raised to hold these steaming discs of glory to a high standard. I’ve worked in well known pizza kitchens and have consumed countless slices from both good and bad restaurants. When I saw footage of these pizza pioneers driving their cars over offensive slices of pizza, I knew they meant business. It was an easy decision when they asked me to join them in this review.
When I found out we were reviewing this establishment that I’ve heard so much about, instantly I printed up an online menu and began studying. Right off the bat, the list of gourmet pizzas nearly blew my fresh, size 12’s clean off. My mouth watered a little more each day leading up to this pizza feast. After a long week of anticipation, it was finally time to indulge. We arrived like a crew on a mission. As we approached the scene, people cleared a path. Street signs meant nothing. I don’t recall hearing any sounds until Castro thunderously slapped down a doughboys business card and ordered up the four massive pies.
The southwest inspired “Santa Fe” pizza was first up. Personally, I’m not a big fan of this particular cuisine and this pie failed to change my opinion. While the crust was on point, it was somewhat bland and tasted like they might have forgotten the key ingredient. Easily my least favorite of the four. However, experimenting with the leftovers, I added some chunky salsa to the Santa fe and discovered what the couch tomato was missing.
The “Meaty Redhead” had a promising list of toppings that I was eager to get my hands on. Oven roasted chicken, turkey bacon, sliced tomatoes, mozzarella and garlic infused oil. I must say, this was the pizza that I had the highest expectations of. While I did enjoy it, I found the sliced tomatoes to be very lackluster. I needed them to burst with flavor and that just didn’t happen. I also feel like there just wasn’t enough garlic to make an impact on the pie. I felt somewhat let down .
The “Touch of Italy” took me by surprise. The red sauce had a nice flavor that complimented the Italian sausage and ricotta very well. It was almost like someone played a trick on me and put grandmas meat lasagna on my pizza. I REALLY enjoyed this pie!!
Before I tell you my thoughts on “The Barbie”, I want to let you in on a secret. I’m not a huge toppings guy. I’m a sucker for thin, crispy pies cooked to perfection. I typically enjoy the 60-40 ratio of sauce to cheese scattered on my crust. With that being said, when this pie hit the table…my pizza game was forever altered. Pulled pork, diced onion, bell pepper, mozzarella and smoked gouda cheeses piled on their fantastic crispy crust. The swirl of BBQ sauce from center to edge was perfect. It was nearly hypnotizing. The aroma quickly overshadowed the other pies inferior scent. I savagely grabbed a slice and went to town. At this moment I realized what reviewing pizza was all about. I could feel my tastebuds come to life. The pork was perfectly tender and smokey, like something you would get down south from a legit smokehouse. The little hint of onion and pepper thrown in were a perfect compliment to the pork. The other pies laying there next to this heavenly circle of love knew their night was all but over. The barbie was without a doubt the show stopper.
When all is said and done, the couch tomato cafe delivers a dynamite crust on each pie. While some pies weren’t as good as I hoped, others surpassed what I had expected. I highly recommend any pizza or BBQ pork lover to grab a slice or four of the “barbie” when possible. I promise you won’t be let down. I’d also like to give a special thanks to the doughboys for allowing me to join in on this review. It was a great experience that my stomach and I won’t soon forget.