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Aug 2, 2007 12:18 PM

Upper Crust: meh...

Was in Coolidge Corner last night looking for a quick bite to eat and we settled on Upper Crust; I remember having a delivery pizza a while back that was pretty tasty. This visit was pretty disappointing. I've seen a lot of discussion here over the merits of different styles of pizza but I think my experience falls outside of that; this pizza was just lousy.

We had a daily special pie (steak & basil):
- Crust was flavorless and of the thin, crispy, crackery variety.
- Cheese was also flavorless; I've never before felt the compulsion to add salt to a pizza.
- Sauce was the one bright spot, especially the chunks of tomatoes that appeared near the outer edge of the pie. These were very sweet and flavorful but there just weren't enough.
- Toppings were a mixed bag. The steak was of the flavorless chunk variety that seems prevalent in bad Chinese food but the basil was fresh and very fragrant.

There seem to be plenty of mixed reviews on this place but I haven't come across an outright bad one - has anyone else had a similar experience? At this price we could have had three times the pizza at a place like La Mamma and been infinitely more satisfied (and also disgustingly gluttonous but that's a different post...).

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  1. Jordan Tobin ā€“ or whatever the founder's name is ā€“ he needs to stop expansion now. Iā€™m a big fan of Upper Crust, and it can still be great. But it definitely has become more inconsistent over the past year or so. He needs to work with the locations he currently has, and the couple about to open, and solidify their pizza-making foundations. Then, when all's good again, and consistently good, fine, continue with more expansion if he wants. But if he cares about quality at all, he needs to put the brakes on expansion for a while. I mean he can make plenty of money with the seven or so locations he has now. Does he really want to become another Domino's? I hope the answer is no.

    EDIT: Gee, where did that rant come from? I must have been hungry. :o)

    4 Replies
    1. re: Alcachofa

      I have to agree. In my circle, I have sent dozens and dozens of people for a slice on Charles but the magic got lost awhile ago. Not sure what or why, but the slices, although good, are missing something great?

      And the toppings can be frugal to the point that a friend recently ordered double hamburg and onion to get a decent pie - that's justs crazy to pay for an acceptable amount of toppings!

      1. re: gyppielou

        Though to be fair, pizza in Italy is served with very minimal toppings compared to what Americans have come to expect. Maybe they're trying to be authentic?

        1. re: BobB

          99% of the time, toppings make a pizza worse. They mask the flavors of the cheese and tomatoes, they make the crust soggy, and they are usually of poor quality. A simple tomato, mozzarella, and basil pizza is almost always your best bet, provided the ingredients are good.

    2. I agree with the comment about inconsistency. I was there for lunch yesterday and was unpleasantly surprised by the flavor of the crust and the cheese and the steak. However, I was there sometime last week for lunch as well and the spinach and mushroom special of the day was one of the best slices of pizza I'd had in a while. Great flavor in the veggies that complimented the sauce perfectly and just the right amount of cheese.

      2 Replies
      1. re: SouthEndGirl4

        I tend to defend Upper Crust. If you want a straightforward, traditional pie with a limited number of toppings (cheese, pepperoni, maybe mushrooms) Upper Crust can whip one up with the best of them. I generally think people ask too much of the humble pizza. Steak and cheese may sound good in theory but I would guess the results are usually disappointing (especially on a paper thin crust). Upper Crust shines when the toppings and crust don't compete with one another. My advice: keep it simple.

        1. re: bakemeacake

          I don't know anything about the steak and cheese pizza at Upper Crust but I'll second the notion that they're sliding into inconsistency. For many years I have been a big fan of their pies but in the last several months the pizzas I've ordered have ranged from their usual standard of excellence to downright poor.

          Just last night I ordered a large magherita pie from Upper Crust on Newbury and received a pizza that had been cooked improperly (burned) and constructed poorly (crust was all messed up and there was practically no tomato or tomato sauce anywhere to be found).

          Being a weak hearted soul, I cried extensively. Bad pizza always ends in tears.

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