Perhaps in response to the rise of better pizza in America, Pizza Hut recently revamped its menu with some bold new choices. The ordering process is very confusing! There is a lot of advertising about specialty crusts, but that is really just about some extra flavorings brushed onto the cornicione.
You begin by choosing from several crust foundations that include:
- Thin 'n' crispy
- Pan pizza
- Original stuffed crust
You next have a choice of sauces:
- Crushed tomato
- Garlic Parmesan
- Honey Sriracha
Then you pick a flavor drizzle to top your pie:
- Honey Sriracha
Finally, you select a flavor for your cornicione:
- Toasted Parmesan
- Salted pretzel
- Honey sriracha
- Toasted asiago
- Fiery red pepper
- Toasted cheddar
- Garlic buttery blend
It's a dizzying array of choices. I wanted a reasonably traditional pizza, so I chose the pan pizza crust, crushed tomato, no sauce drizzle, with sausage and pepperoni for toppings. To make it a little more interesting, I chose the salted pretzel cornicione.
One more element of confusion - I had a print ad with advertised specials, including a two-topping large pizza for $7.99. However, the physical location Pizza Hut store could not honor that price, which applies to internet orders only. So I (and another patron in that store) used smartphones to place an order online while standing in the store! The store owner (Exton, PA) apologized for the system, which is beyond his control.
The pie was ready in less than 15 minutes. "Large" by Pizza Hut standards is not a very big pie; this one was about 13.5 inches in diameter.
How did it taste?
The crust was actually quite good. It had some good browning and crispness on the bottom. It was properly thick, but it had a nice hole structure and overall texture. Surprisingly, it had its own good flavor, which is rare in any big-chain pie.
The salted pretzel edge was a disappointment. I wanted pretzel crust, what I got was salted pizza crust. Still good, but not what it might have been.
The sauce also disappointed. Crushed tomatoes are standard in the superb tomato pies of Trenton, and the best pies have a distinct tomato flavor. This sauce (and the cheese) were simply pleasant role players with no distinct character. There was a bit too much cheese, and it could have used more and bolder tomato sauce.
The toppings were ordinary, featuring standard-grade pepperoni, very thinly sliced. The sausage was pre-cooked, and I regretted that I hadn't opted for the new "premium salami" instead.
All told, this pie was tasty and of course filling. It was a little better than a DiGiorno frozen pizza, for not much more money. I'm in no hurry to eat Pizza Hut again, because there are so many better choices.
A pizza is about crust, sauce, cheese - and mostly about the crust. Whenever there is an emphasis on toppings or other unusual flavors, the purpose is typically to distract from a mediocre crust. And that it true, for the most part, with this new Pizza Hut menu. But for a big chain, "mediocre" is a step forward. I had remembered Pizza Hut as lousy pizza - but this pie was pretty good. Not memorable, but there are a lot of worse ways to fill your belly for $8.