Joe Pizza’s Return Includes New, Improved ‘Al Taglio’ Pies

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by Andrew Morrison | I’m glad to see that Joe Pizza is back. The new Gastown restaurant held a series of test services last month and then went dark. It’s a good thing they did, too, as they’ve recently reopened with revised recipes and pricing that make it all the more attractive. I tried a couple of the retooled, rectangular pizzas yesterday. The sauce remains as it was before, which is to say the same simple-but-impactful stuff that chef JC Poirier puts to good use over at Pizzeria Farina on Main Street. The big change is with the crust, which is no longer 100% sourdough. The test slices I tried at the start were too dense, even away from the crisped-up edges, which were themselves a real struggle to break down. The new version is still a thick chew (as per the ‘al taglio’ style), but it’s a lot kinder to the tooth than it was the first time around; its agreeable springiness making it more of a pleasure than a mission. The flavour is less intrusive too, allowing for the toppings to drive the overall experience instead of being spar partners for the dough’s taste. That’s not a knock on talented local baker Annabelle Choi, who is no longer with the company. I love her baking, and was excited that she was originally tasked with developing the dough. But I think achieving the distinct Roman style that JC was looking for was perhaps threading too fine and too personal a needle. (It was probably best for all involved – customers included – if he did the dough himself, just as he did at Farina.) In any event, they’ve also managed to shave off a buck or three from the prices, which is never a bad thing. The photo above shows the one I took a real fancy to the most yesterday: a brightly flavoured, heated change-up of pineapple, capicollo and zippy jalapeno coins under a thin blanket of parmesan and mozzarella. Seriously delicious stuff, and well worth the $6 cost. (Though pineapple and jalapenos on pizza are both considered by some to be an obscene abomination, I always find it useful to try the weird stuff first when assessing a pizza joint for the first time. Why? Because while big, bold flavours can help mask shitty doughs and thin sauces, they also test the reach of good doughs and great sauces). If you need a refresher on the look, feel and concept of Joe Pizza, either read this for a refresher or take a gander at these photos from last month…

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There are 4 comments

  1. Interesting strategy, I always find the best way to assess a pie shop is getting the margherita – if they can’t make a decent margherita then gtfo.

  2. I dunno Andrew. You gave a: “not willing to offend” review when they first opened their doors.
    So I dropped by, but thought their dough was far too challenging.
    (not to mention t shirts and hats for sale – yeah, like I really want to walk around with a
    JP t shirt)
    Went in today,(at the lunch hour) after your second review, to see the new and improved.
    I counted six customers.
    Ummm, just looking at the dough, thanks but no thanks.
    Plus, the price remains high for a tennsie weensie square.
    Really, we’re talking pizza.
    Why is JC making it so complicated?
    AP

  3. For this style of pizza I think Zero Zero (00) over on Abbott is better…Joe Pizza’s offering is a bit different in that they have beer and wine, and the room encourages you to linger a bit longer. It’ll be nice on a lazy summer day in Gastown, grabbing a slice and a cup of cheap white wine, but I will always crave 00 more…

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