June 7: Red Devil Pizza, 1465 Foothill, La Verne
Ordered: 1 medium (14″) takeout, half-cheese, half-pepperoni ($15.25 pre-tax) & 1 medium (14″) ‘margherita’ ($16.50 pre-tax).
Admission: we’ve been to Red Devil before, being partial to their amazing logo as well as their artichoke heart and garlic pizza. But it’s been years since we’ve been there, so this felt like a fresh start – and per our ground rules, we were excited to try both the standard half-pep/half-cheese and a margherita, the first on our quest. The margherita at Red Devil is described as having olive oil, tomatoes, and basil on a thin crust. Hm. The olive oil was not clearly present in terms of either visibility or flavor. The basil, nicely aromatic, was sloppily chopped – which is fine, just no style points – but the tomatoes were particularly flavorful, which was good … but … no tomato sauce. Maybe Red Devil is being intentionally progressive by withholding a standard ingredient on its margherita? We doubt it. As far as the thin crust goes … well, it’s not so much a crust as, and say it in your best Paul Hollywood voice, sponge. The pizza, while fragrant and featuring nice tomatoes, mostly eats like gummy cheese. Verdict? Pretty big fail.
Onto the cheese and pep. So: the tomato sauce we missed before was nicely present, and it tastes homemade: strong presence of oregano, leans savory and spicy. Well done. The cheese is probably a dry aged mozzarella – post-cooking, it’s very salty, more snappy than stringy, and while it tastes good in the way that all cheese does, they could probably stand to use a lighter hand (the cheese pizza was a bit much). The pepperoni was excellent: well-spiced, cooked to curling.
And the non-thin crust? Meh. Crust, we’re pretty sure, is going to be the sticking point in our reviews: spongy pillowy bread simply does not make for the best pizza. Or even particularly good pizza. This was, to Red Devil’s credit, a dough less poor than Mike’s – but that’s like giving Channing Frye credit for playing better than Richard Jefferson so far in the NBA Finals. (Sorry, Channing and Richard. Go Cats, even if you’re long in the tooth. Especially you, Stevesy.)
Summary: a tasty pepperoni pizza, priced a teensy bit high, with entirely uninspiring “crust.”