The Lawrenceville pizzeria is known for its sourdough crust, a sharp turn from the doughier, thick crust that appears in many “Pittsburgh-style” pies. It’s thin, though not thin enough to crunch and crumble with every bite; the bottom remains bendable, often flopping under the weight of toppings even after it’s been spotted with char from the oven. The outer edges, ballooned in a classic style, sport gorgeous bubbles from the fermented dough. It’s a chewy crust, as a good sourdough should be.
And with Driftwood open again for takeout, I decided it was time to treat myself to a weeknight pizza party (of one). I chose two of the 16-inch pies (they also offer a 12-cut Roman style, which has a thicker crust), the Archer and the Greenfielder, and for dessert, a salted dark chocolate rye cookie.
The pizzas were polar opposites. The Archer was simple, dressed with cheese and spicy Italian sausage. It was a classic combination, simple and savory. The straightforward, fresh, tomato sauce was a great match for a cheese blend of pecorino and mozzarella; the saltiness of the pecorino balanced out the sweeter components from the sauce. The sausage — though not too spicy — added a nice kick of flavor to the simple pie. A few leaves of fresh basil rounded out the pizza nicely.
While the Archer was savory, the Greenfielder provided some sweetness. It was a spectacular pie, with arugula and basil pesto matched by garlic, mozzarella, and buttercup cheese, then finished with a drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar. The pesto gave a nice zing to the mild cheeses, but it was the sweet, tart touch from the zig-zag of balsamic that made the pie.
Driftwood’s desserts — a list now limited to a few cookies and Leona’s Ice Cream Sandwiches — should not be overlooked. The salted dark chocolate rye cookie was soft and fudgy like a brownie, the potent punch of sea salt quickly giving way to a rich, sweet, mouth-puckering bitterness of dark chocolate. (If Driftwood ever makes a pizza out of cookies, I will be first in line to try it.)
There is a reason Driftwood Oven has been my most anticipated yellow-phase reopening. Its sourdough-based pies aren’t comparable to anything else in the city; I’d eat just about anything on top of a Driftwood Oven crust.
Driftwood Oven. 3615 Butler St., Lawrenceville. driftwoodoven.com