I love a good competition, especially when it involves food. Well lucky for me, I got to experience a deliciously epic battle when Pizza Boat went “dough to dough” against Bread and Salt for the bragging rights of best pizza on Friday. Armed with 100 pies each, who would claim victory at the Pizza Dojo?
With ideal weather conditions and social media abuzz, there was already a healthy line forming as the wood-burning oven fired up the first pie at 6pm. Those classy gents at Bar Marco were the gracious hosts and perhaps partial culprits in encouraging the second round of this pizza war. (Pizza Boat vs. Bread and Salt had resulted in a draw back in March.) Bar Marco is generally a fun hang but with the opening of their courtyard (aka the cocktail garden…or at least that’s what I’m calling it) it was the ideal locale for this feud to go down.
When looking over the two menus, each had a clear standout. For Bread and Salt, it was the Mast’Nicola which consisted of lardo from Cure, pecorino, and basil. If you’ve got something from Cure, I need to put it in my mouth. Pizza Boat’s obvious pick was the RickRoll’D, featuring tomato, mozzarella, goat cheese, mustard greens, red onions, and lamb sausage. Pizza Boat was definitely going with the more is…well, more idea.
As we waited for our pies, I sipped on one of Giuseppe’s creations and pondered over which pizza I would like best. In one corner of the ring was Pizza Boat with Jeff Ryan and Matt Watson. They’re known to set up their trailer-mounted oven next to Bar Marco on the weekends. In the opposing corner was Bread and Salt’s Rick Easton who is preparing his new storefront in Bloomfield. In the meantime, he’s been popping up temporarily as well. You can see him at The Brew Gentlemen Beer Co. on 8/18 for example. As each pizza was served to those around us, my anxious appetite was growing.
At long last our name was called. The first pie we tried was from Bread and Salt (the one with the lardo). At first bite I was completely smitten with the crust. It was delicate, yet chewy and had some awesome charring. The lardo was nicely crispy and blackened a bit as well. Unfortunately, I found the pie a tad too salty. With the natural saltiness of lardo, I was surprised to see that additional course salt had been sprinkled on top. As we finished up our final slice, Pizza Boat (mmmm…lamb sausage) was given their turn. The layers of flavor in this pie were off the charts. The contrasting bitterness of the mustard greens and the sweetness of the tomatoes was an especially thoughtful addition. When I reached the crust, however, I wishing for more of those delicate pockets of air that Bread and Salt had created.
|Bread and Salt's Mast'Nicola (lardo from Cure, pecorino, and basil)|
|Pizza Boat's RickRoll'd (tomato, mozzarella, goat cheese, mustard greens, red onions, and lamb)|
So who wins? Well, technically, Pizza Boat was the winner…they sold out of pies first. For me, it was a draw. I’m actually wishing that these talented guys had spent less time karate chopping each other’s dough balls and would’ve worked on a collaborative menu. Can you imagine a Bread and Salt crust topped with the creative flavor medleys the dudes from Pizza Boat are thinking up? A gal can dream can’t she? Until that pizza pie utopia comes to fruition, I’ll happily patron both of these businesses.
I give Pizza Boat: 4/5 forks
I give Bread and Salt: 4/5 forks
Bread and Salt (coming soon)
330 Pearl Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
Look for them next to Bar Marco in the Strip on the weekends.