Friday, October 2, 2015

Review: St. Philip Pizza Parlor & Bakeshop, Austin TX

Easterners would rarely think of pizza as a top dining choice in Texas; a visitor would perhaps first seek out BBQ or Mexican food. But in Austin, at least, there are several good-to-great pizza options. One that appeared on my radar during a 4-day visit was St. Philip Pizza Parlor & Bakeshop, in the Sunset Valley district.
The NYC Pepperoni pie. Click any image for full size resolution

Housed in a modern building along the service road of Highway 71, St. Philip occupies a cool and inviting interior space with an adjoining patio for al fresco dining. I took an inside seat on a warm September afternoon for a pizza lunch. 

From a well-constructed menu, I chose the NYC pepperoni pizza and a field salad. There is also a nice selection of craft beers on tap, including some Texas brews.

The salad was served in an attractive rectangular dish. It contained a nice mix of dark leafy greens topped with shaved cucumber and radish and some grated cheese. The light dressing had a pleasantly salty flavor that accented the earthy crunch of the greens. Pretty perfect as a starter.

My pizza, a generous 12" personal size, came to the table with a golden browning on both the crust and the exposed cheese. Like every pizza, success or failure depends mostly on the crust.

Here, the crust was thin yet dense, with an al dente chew and a brilliant cornicione decorated with tiny crisp blistered bubbles. The crust had excellent flavor, like a good chewy Italian bread; the cornicione was world-class. Underneath, there was just the right amount of oven char to lend further depth to the flavor.
Patio dining area

Each slice was sturdy enough to easily support the toppings, which were applied in about perfect proportion for well-balanced pie. The toppings adhered well, too, so that there was little risk of the cheese sliding off. There was a beautiful light hole structure at the cornicione, giving a different texture at different points in each slice.

Like the salad, the pie had a wonderful salty tang. The pepperoni, releasing some orange oil, was the dominant note as it acquired some nice browning during the bake. The sauce and fresh mozzarella cheese both had distinct flavors, but were sublime role players here. Due to the pepperoni, the pie was a bit greasy in all the right ways. This pizza would be right at home in Philly, New York, or New Haven. 

I wish I had time and belly space to eat more of the items on the menu, which offers a lot of inventive choices. For a pizza lunch, this was a bit indulgent, coming to $24 (before tip) for a pie, salad, and beer. But easily worth it.

Austin is a great city for foodies, from casual to fine downing downtown. This suburban setting delivered Destination Pizza; St. Philip is worth the trip.

St. Philip Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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