Christmas for us means a lot of traveling to see family and this past week we were in Phoenix visiting my father-in-law. Not only does the drive to Phoenix mean I get to see my father-in-law, but it also means a great meal at Grimaldi’s.
A perfect pizza meal to me involves a trifecta: pizza, salad, and beer. There is a Family Guy episode which has a scene describing the poor quality of salads found at most pizza places: the lettuce is an entire uncut head with stem included, the black olives are whole, the tomato is cut into very large chunks, only one thin slice of carrot is included, hot peppers are added, and it’s served in an aluminium lasagna tray. This is not the case at Grimaldi’s, which only serves pizzas, calzones, and salads and they do each of them very well here.
We started with a Mediterranean Salad consisting of romaine lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, kalamata olives, cucumbers, feta cheese, tossed with a tangy vinaigrette. The salads are served in sharing portions, unless you order from the lunch menu. Just enough vinaigrette is used to lightly coat all the pieces of the salad and the ingredients are always fresh.
This is a small white pizza with garlic and ricotta and mushrooms are the extra toppings. The crust is thin and chewy, with a crisp cornicione. There is always a nice char from their coal-fired brick oven. They don’t use a heavy hand with the mozzarella, allowing the flavors of the toppings to shine through, as well as the generous amount of garlic. They add large spoonfuls of creamy ricotta to the pizza by whacking the back of a spoon. Some of the thinly sliced mushrooms had a bit of char and they added a nice earthy flavor. The garlic is present in every bite and lingers long after leaving the restaurant. Just as their salad, the key to their dishes is balance in adding just the right amount of ingredients to add flavor without overwhelming.
This is a tomato sauce based pizza with mozzarella, pepperoni, and Italian sausage. Although the picture quality is poor, it shows a good amount of pepperoni covering the pizza with a basil leaf in the middle. I noticed that the pepperoni slices here are smaller than at chain pizza places and also sliced a bit thicker. There was a nice char on the underside of this pizza, as well as a little bit of char along the edges of the top of the pizza.
The servers give kids pizza dough to play with while waiting for their food, but there is also a full bar, so it’s a great place for kids and adults. On their website, Grimaldi’s attributes their great pizza to the coal-fired brick oven, the anthracite coals they use in their ovens, and the specially pumped water that they use in their pizzas which has been recreated to match the water in New York. They also take great care in assembling all their foods. The pizza oven and cooks are positioned in the center of the restaurant behind a glass wall, so you can watch their restrained hand in adding toppings. They add the right amount of toppings to each pizza so that you can taste each of the fresh ingredients. Not to mention the crust here is great and I’m a sucker for a tasty crust.
9788 W. Northern Ave.
Peoria, AZ 85345