PIZZA PIZZA (60 Wellington East, at Church, 416-967-1111, and other locations). Complete meals for $9 per person, including all taxes, tip and a soda. Open Sunday to Wednesday 11 am to 2 am, Thursday to Saturday 11 am to 3 am. Unlicensed. Access: some outlets barrier-free. Rating: NN Rating: NN
Now readers know that I have no fear of controversy.
In the past, I've skewered culinary sacred cows while championing the unknown and unlikely with zero regard for my reputation. But my next sentence is perhaps the most contentious critique I've ever made in these pages. Pizza Pizza's recently introduced thin whole-wheat multigrain crust is pretty good.
Not that Terroni, Marcello's, Gerrard Spaghetti & Pizza or any other upscale pizzeria has anything to worry about. But the DIY pie I assembled last weekend - reduced-fat pepperoni and mozzarella, low-sodium tomato sauce, sweet roasted red pepper, broccoli and anchovies ($15.75/large 14-inch) - came with an impressive sour cracker crust as well as veggies that verged on al dente.
According to the box, the dough's now "transfat free," "made with natural spring water and extra virgin olive oil" that also happens to be "rich in omega 3's." The box also advises in caps, "Caution! Pizza is hot" and, as an apparent afterthought, implores us to "Enjoy!"
In the same session, the Test Kitchen samples three of Pizza Pizza's Signature pies, all of them ordered with thin whole-wheat crusts (all $13.49/large). Of the lot, Pesto Amore, with spinach, red onion, red peppers, goat cheese and minimal mozzarella, fared best but pales next to anything similar from Amato.
But the abominable Chicken Parm, featuring very minced pieces of harsh barbecued chicken with cheese and invisible roasted garlic, and the Sweet Chili Chicken, which adds sun-dried tomato, chèvre and broccoli to the Parm combo, work against their cardboard containers' promise of "Good friends, good food, good times."
For these last two, might we suggest good riddance?