Daily Slice: Primo at Johnny Rad's, Baltimore
Daily Slice gives a quick snapshot each weekday of a different slice or pie that the folks at the Serious Eats empire have enjoyed lately.
Open for nearly a year now, Johnny Rad's has established a foothold as one of the better pizza options in Baltimore City.
Twelve pizzas comprise the regular offerings on the menu, which are available in either 11" or 15" sizes at relatively reasonable prices. The quality metric at a pizzeria can usually be best determined by its more basic offerings, and the Primo at Johnny Rad's generally delivers.
Owner Rich Pugh has previously dubbed these pizzas as "Baltipolitan", but the pies straddle the line between a couple of styles; the very thin thickness factor on the bottom crust is reminiscent of New York-Neapolitan style while the crust, in both its brown-amber colored top and chewy interior, is similar to NY Style.
The sauce on the Primo is clean — tasting of vibrant, uncooked tomatoes, and the fior di latte is creamy. The ratio between sauce and cheese is about spot on. Whole, fresh basil (now being grown in-house) and fruity olive oil completes the bright compilation of flavors one expects from a good Margherita. Boofheads will delight that Mozzarella di bufala is an option on this pie as well.
But what about the crust, eh? Enthusiasts may find the crust slightly dried out on occasion, with variability in the evenness of the bake. However, the crumb often has a handsome hole structure which keeps the crust from being too dense. The quality and consistency of the crust has definitely improved since Rad's opened last summer and they are coaxing the most they can get from their gas fired oven.
This is a solid pizza bar and you could do a helluva lot worse than having Johnny Rad's in your 'hood. For a more in-depth review of this welcome addition to the Charm City pizza scene, check back here later this summer.
And now for a Johnny Rad musical interlude...