A Hamburger Today

Daily Slice: Pizza Rustica, Miami

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[Photographs: Meredith Smith]

Pizza Rustica dominates the Miami slice scene in South Beach with three outlet locations, all within walking distance of one another. Large, thin Sicilian-esque slabs are what populate their cases. The display of colors from all the toppings is enough to put you in a hypnotic pizza trance. They judiciously top the majority of their square slices with four or more ingredients, leaving just a few one or two topping options. Rustica treats their gargantuan slices like mini pies, cutting each one into six pieces, so getting a couple of slices to share seems built into the concept; with so many different slice varieties available, it makes good sense.

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The cheese slices are easiest eaten folded in half, but the abundance of cheese on them seem heavy for the Miami heat. (Maybe I've just lived in New England too long.) The sharpness and acidity from the tomato sauce, however, serves to balance out the slice. Seeds, along with larger chunks of tomato, are present in the sauce and lend the occasional bitter bite. As for the dough, it's well-saturated with an unmistakeable pan pizza flavor and sports a browned bottom and good chew. Crusts were of varying thickness; all of them thinner than your standard Sicilian, but the thickest built to support the Rustica topping heft.

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The namesake slice, the Rustica, comes with kalamata olives, diced tomatoes, artichokes, basil, prosciutto (more like regular ham than cured meat - spongy in texture), and sun-dried tomatoes. The sheer abundance of components makes a fork and knife the better option over attempting to fold. Herb flavor dominates the Rustica, parsley and basil, primarily. The remaining flavors get lost in the muddle of ingredients. So while the multi-topping varieties are impressive in their number, less is more on the thin square.

Pizza Rustica

Various Locations Miami, FL (map)
pizza-rustica.com

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