Paddock in Somerville -- good pizza, but Armando's it ain't
Finally got to try a pizza from the Paddock in Somerville tonight. Whenever I try someplace new, I make it a point to give a nod to the scientific method and start with a plain cheese.
The pie was definitely quite good, but as far as this thin crust style is concerned, I felt like it was a poor cousin to Cambridge's superb Armando's in every way.
Cheese: good, but not quite salty enough.
Sauce: good, not quite as fresh-tasting or spicy.
Crust: good, but slightly too dry.
HOWEVER-- as mentioned earlier today on this board, they do deliver! Armando's will remain my reigning champion of thin crust in the area, but I'm very pleased to pop Paddock into my speed dial.
Armando's is Sicilian by the slice, made on full size trays. It has a decent amount of cheese and I would consider it a bit thicker than Umberto. Keep in mind they probably go through a half-dozen trays per day compared to the 2 dozen trays or so per hour at Umberto's. I would consider it probably closer to Pinocchio.
Armando's serves Sicilian by the slice in addition to thin crust pizza. You can also order half trays I believe. For the slices they offer some toppings which they add to the pie before toasting it before.
Armando's thin crust pizza is a nice foldable slice with a good seasoning mix, which I would consider a bit less doughy than the Paddock.
Its right around the corner from the fire station, so those guys often pull up a fire engine right in front, but to my knowlege they (and the police officers) usually get subs.
Between the Paddock and Armando's I have a hard time deciding, but would probably split it like the others -- the paddock has better toppings (Armando's sausage is pretty weak) and more variety, but for a straight forward american style pizza (cheese, pepperoni, etc) I might give the edge to Armando's. Its been a long while since I have had their sicilian, but its a bit more dense than that of Pinocchio's and not as crispy as Umberto. Definately the edge to Umberto and Pinocchio's has a lot more toppings, but its a good slice.
Some interesting stories about Armando. In addition to always supporting local youth teams, he has always been favorable towards other establishments in the area. I think he hosted a petition when Hi-Rise wanted to start serving sandwiches. Additionally when the owner of Hi-Rise and someone else were opening pizza shops further down Huron someone came in asking him to sign the petition and he did so. Another person at the counter said "aren't you afraid of helping the competition" and his response was "once you have had the best..." :-)
Armando's has a great slice -- never seen deep dish, only Italian. It's one of the few places close to me where a slice is as good as a full pie.
I'm glad to hear a Paddock pizza report -- it's close to me and they deliver but I've never been able to wrap my head around ordering from there.
I really like your methodology - I do the same with chowders at seafood restaurants and I believe it may be custom to try tamago (egg?) at a new sushi place in Japan, before proceeding straight to the fugu.
But I think it may fail to capture the pluses of Paddock, which is copious toppings, esp. compared to Armando's which is average or skimpy iirc.
Let us know what you think after you order a pie with more toppings...would be curious to hear whether the needle jumps a little closer to the Paddock side.