A roundup of newbies
East Side Pies1401-B Rosewood, 524-0933
Sunday, noon-10pm; Monday, 4-10pm; Tuesday-Thursday, noon-10pm; Friday-Saturday, noon-12mid
Perched on the southeast corner of Rosewood and Angelina, East Side Pies is the brainchild of Michael Freid and Noah Polk. The interior is tiny, but there are small outside tables front and back. A glass counter holds an assortment of large pies, waiting to be heated up to sell by the slice. They have perhaps the most creative choices of specialty pizzas among the group, with a wide assortment of gourmet toppings available (jerk chicken, green chiles, goat cheese, habaneros, asparagus, sauerkraut, etc.).
ESP features a thin, cracker-style crust, 14 inches or 18 inches, pressed with a dough roller – unique among the pizzerias reviewed here. It has a robust char, and the texture is crisp and crackling, softer and chewier as it cools. Pies are cut crisscross, rectangular instead of triangular, so some pieces lack an edge, making them a little messier to eat. The sauce is pureed tomatoes with subtle garlic and more sweetness than acidity. The cheese is 100% whole-milk mozzarella, with nice flavor and stringiness. The ratio of sauce to cheese is balanced and not overdone. ESP's sausage is homemade and absolutely superb. Made in sheet pans and cut into cubes with nice fennel, heat, and garlic, it's the best sausage that we tasted. Our pie was a 14-inch half and half for $13.25, or 8.6 cents per square inch.
We love that ESP carries the full range of Maine Root sodas; they go great with the pies. Other than pizzas, ESP offers garlic-bread knots (with Romano and parsley) and a Greek and garden salad. There are more than a few of the specialty combos that sound very tempting, and they do deliver east of I-35.