Making the same food on different equipment with different staff can be problematic. Especially with something as finicky as good dough. While almost any schmuck can make pizza dough, really great dough takes a lot of passion, precision, and skill.
Plus everyone likes to pick on the best don't they!
Unfortunately for all the trolls out there, Salvatore's on Johnson lives up to the original. Perhaps here Chef/owner Patrick DePaula can be even more adventurous! The only real drawback to this location is that everyone knows about it, and the dining room is too small to fit everyone in Madison. However the Johnson Public House next door lets you bring in pizza! Actually The Salvatore's staff will even deliver it to you over there. Of course everyone should buy some drinks at the public house, and everyone wins!
This is the Jalapeno Assessino. It has a Jalapeno Pesto, Chorizo, and farmer John's colby. It's got a little heat and a lot of flavor from the jalapenos and the Colby's saltiness cuts into it perfectly. All over a great pizza!
This was a special... it had Chinese BBQ pork (Char Sui), Hoisin sauce, and raw cucumbers. I'm the spoiled brat who gets to fly to China 3 or 4 times a year for work so I don't eat Chinese food too often in the US. This was.... good... but not great. I know exactly what they were trying to do. The flavor components here are almost the same as a pork bun, with Hoisin, cucumbers, and green onions, which is usually made with pork belly which has been slowly steamed and fried until it's luscious tender and still had a lot of fat. The other thing this closely resembles is the classical peking duck preparation where you take the ungodly crispy fatty pieces of duck skin and wrap them in a crepe with Hoisin and cucumbers and green onions.
BBQ pork is not used in either of these two dishes... mostly because it doesn't make a very balanced dish. The BBQ pork that Salvatore's makes is delicious and amazing, but it isn't as fatty as either the steamed belly or the duck skin. So that unbalances the sickly sweet/sour Hoisin. The BBQ pork is also sweet which further unbalances the Hoisin. I would have loved to have some fresh stalks of green onion cut like the cucumber as a call back to the source dishes and to better balance the flavors as well.
It wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either... and that is the only pizza I've ever eaten at Salvatore's that I've said that about!!!
I've already talked about the Carbonara in a previous post, but it's SOOO good! I would like to report, it's just as good on East Johnson as it was in Sun Prarie!
I need to talk about this though. The fig and bacon: salty, sweet, and absolutely incredible. There is a bit of Gorgonzola which could turn some people off, but I think even people who don't favor blue cheeses will still absolutely devour this pizza! The basil which was crisped on top of the pizza gave it an incredible aroma. I would love to eat this pizza every single day.
Rating: **** See Metric here
Cost: $$ See Metric here
Salvatore's Tomato Pies
912 E. Johnson Street, Madison (608) 238-6040
East Johnson St - Madison
Tues through Thursday 4-10
Fri, Sat, 4-11
Sunday 4pm - 9pm
Monday - Closed