Madison, Wisconsin: Pizza Brutta [field report]
1805 Monroe Street, Madison WI 53711 (map); 608-257-2120; pizzabrutta.com
Pizza style: Neapolitan
Oven type: Wood-fired
Notes: Possibly the only Neapolitan pizza in Madison?
Price: $7 for 12-inch Margherita
Walking into Pizza Brutta is like waking up to that wonderful day in Livorno, sitting on plastic chairs at the beach... but with nice wooden benches :) The oven and large marble prep slab are front and center, the staff is engaging, and the smell... oh, the smell. Goose bumps from just imagining it. There is something about the smell of basil crisping in a bed of tomato sauce that brings tears to my eyes. But I digress :)
The crust is supple but forgiving, there is just enough chewiness to make it an integral part of the slice without overwhelming the texture of the tomato sauce and cheese. Beautiful cornicione surrounds a San Marzano base, lightly salted with spots of fresh mozzarella and large basil leaves.
The crust cant quite hold up the slice, but this is a good thing, no need to thicken up just for structural integrity. The base Margherita is my favorite, but the menu shows so many excellent options, it's worth spending a night and trying a few. At $7, it can't be beat. —Guil Barros
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