16535 Southwest Fwy # 2500
Once a year, we get to see our good friend Rich when he visits his mom in Sugarland (a suburb 30 minutes south of Houston) for the holidays. This year, for the first time, guilt got the better of us and we agreed to actually go outside of Houston to eat. I actually quite enjoy going to the suburbs…it reminds me of visiting a small, posh village, where everything is convenient and clean. Unfortunately I also feel ashamed to like it so much as Aaron said I’ve now graduated from being a teenage white boy (this stemmed from my music preference of Bon Jovi and Aerosmith) to an older suburban white male stuck in an Asian woman’s body. I think this was meant as an insult but I find it highly entertaining!
I heard about Grimaldi’s through a friend of mine a couple of years ago. I seemed to remember her raving about the coal-kissed thing crust pizzas and have been dying to try it, being from New Jersey and naturally a lover of New York style pizza. The chain originating from Brooklyn was also a promising aspect.
We got a carafe of the house red wine. It was only $15 (in hindsight this was a red flag) and from Montepulciano, a small Italian town Aaron and I visited two years ago. It piqued our interest and we enthusiastically ordered it.
I ordered a small house salad (much to Aaron’s chagrin) and we got three personal sized 12″ pizzas to share.
White garlic sauce with mushrooms and anchovies
White garlic sauce with sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, and Italian sausage
(I forgot to take a picture of this one as it arrived quite a bit after our other pizzas, I’m not sure why…)
Red sauce with jalapenos and pepperoni
We also shared the tiramisu for dessert.
He ate: Pizza is such a solved problem that you have to work really hard for it to be good. So much time and money has been spent in this country in the last fifty years to make pizza better. It’s a whole industry and this place did not raise the bar.
Although the pizza was meh, I was a fan of the tiramisu. It was solid.
She ate: The wine was only ok…a good deal for $15 and when I eat pizza, I usually want a cheap tasting, non-offensive, easy to drink red wine. This fit the bill! I was expecting a bit more quality since it was from Montepulciano. This could have been Franzia by taste. But for $15 for a big carafe, I can’t complain much.
I also can’t complain too much about the pizza. It wasn’t bad. But it also wasn’t good. The crust was thin but not thin or crispy enough. The cheese was there but not flavorful. They have no signature combinations for toppings, and although the pizzas were only $10, each topping was $2-4, so that adds up quickly. The toppings were very boring, the most interesting being ricotta cheese and artichoke hearts. The rest were your usual suspects of ham, olives, etc. They didn’t even have pineapple for Aaron’s favorite Hawaiian pizza. They charge you the same amount for toppings on half or the whole pizza. I think this is kind of a rip off, as then you don’t get to try many toppings (unless you dont’ mind shelling out $20 for a small pizza). They also recommend that you only get 2-3 toppings in order for the pizzas to not get too heavy/soggy.
The salad tasted like a Jason’s deli salad. Very dry, not very many components. I wouldn’t get it again.
Although the food was mediocre, our server Bradley was very attentive and friendly.
For the money, I would gladly have Papa John’s pizza. There are a million other better places to get pizza in Houston. For thin crust, the best is Piola.
The tiramisu was ok. Better than the stuff you get in the frozen section at the grocery store, but again, nothing special. The ladyfingers were fluffy and the cream was silky, but they both lacked flavor and richness.
The night ended at the quintessential suburbia “bar,” TGIFridays! I haven’t been here since high school, and it has not changed one bit, other than the fact that we were able to order alcohol this time! Aaron and Rich both got the mudslide shake, and I got a Guiness. Silliness ensued.
tl; dr: Don’t go here, even if you’re already in Sugarland and you crave pizza. Go to Lasagna instead.