Upper Crust in Salem
Pizza is nothing to speak of other than a large slice. The Salem location is dirty. Why does it take fifteen minutes to get the "sllice of the day." It is as if they are making each slice to order? One word describes my experience at this location, CHAOS!
Tried the new Upper Crust in Plymouth this week. I don't get it. I heard from friends living in Hingham that their pizza was great. Maybe it depends on the location but the Plymouth location was terrible! After spending $30 for two small pies (small is larger than most) I actually felt ripped off. Margherita with uncooked chunks (stem ends?) of mediocre quality canned tomatoes, flimsy undercooked crust, very salty cheeses. Sausage, what there was of it , was unremarkable as well. The crust was so thin and flimsy that the pizza needed to be eaten with a knife and fork.
I would suggest that the menu is too large and varied for an inexperienced crew to pull off. I think they should just concentrate on making a pie worth $15. Good Pizza on the South Shore remains elusive.
Good restaurants in general are elusive on the South Shore, but my go to place for pizza is Mama Mia's in Kingston (Rt 3A, exit 9 off Rt 3). There are several Mama Mia's on the South Shore, but the pizza at the Kingston location is the best. The owner claims it's the water used to make the crust that makes the difference. We always order it crispy and the crust is browned and bubbly, never soggy.
These are basic thin crust pies, nothing fancy. The restaurant is old and family oriented, again nothing fancy. Ravioli's are homemade as are the lasagna noodles. Old school red sauce Italian done well and reasonable. Family owned with a lot of pride.
Try it, you'll like it!
I’m very familiar with the Mama Mia empire. As a kid it was my favorite pizza. That was when they had just the one store in Kingston. The pie is not as good as it was back then, maybe my taste buds have changed, or maybe the water has changed.
Fast forward to the present. I honestly avoid take-out Italian-American because it just doesn’t travel well. I took your advice however and called in an order at the Kingston location Friday night after a couple year hiatus.
Two small pizzas (well done please), two salads, ravioli and a chicken parmigiano with “ziti”.
The phone etiquette at this place is just plain rude. But it’s not the ambiance or service I look for in a pizza shop so I’ll forgive that. The pizza: thin crust pizza that looks as it should. Nice looking edge, hand tossed, and decent sauce to cheese ratio. More than slight tip droop when picked up but I’ll excuse that and chalk it up to maybe sitting in a box for 15 minutes. At second glance it’s greasy looking however and certainly not cooked well done, but that’s been my experience at most pizza places, they just don’t get that request.
After the first slice I thought I was done. Flavorless crust that looked good but was a bit “doughy” after the initial crack of the crust. But there was an off flavor I tasted so I forged on in the name of research and picked up on what it was during that next slice. Jarred chopped garlic! Unmistakable flavor that lingers for hours. I’ll concede that Mamma Mia’s is better than Upper Crust, especially on price, but it’s still not great or even above average pizza.
Chicken Parm : Italian (Italian –American?) food doesn’t travel well, this was a terrible choice. Steam from take-out container makes the breaded cutlet soggy, the pasta is overcooked and there’s a ¼ inch of water in the bottom. Congealed mozzarella makes the entire meal a cinderblock after only a few minutes. The tomato sauce was OK, nothing special, no jarred garlic aftertaste a plus.
Ravioli: I refuse to acknowledge these are “homemade” ravioli as the menu states. There is no way these are homemade, I’ll bet the farm on that.
Our regular pizza buy is Eggplant & Garlic from the Kingston Mamma Mia's.
As a topping, the garlic is absolutely NOT preprepared garlic from a jar. The Garlic topping is a very generous amount of clearly fresh, whole, "smashed" garlic cloves.
Eggplant & Garlic is our benchmark pizza order anywhere else. I haven't discovered any other pizza place on the South Shore that *doesn't* use the minced stuff in a jar.
E&G pizza from Mamma Mia's is consistently outstanding.
As for the ravioli, I've not ordered it, so it's hard to tell. They have a handwritten sign up right now hawking hand-made pumpkin raviolis in a nutmeg cream sauce. That certainly sounds like it could be made fresh.
You are aware that Carmela's restaurant next door is owned/operated by the same family? I'll bet their raviolis are handmade. Might Carmela's kitchen supply Mamma Mia's raviolis?
Whole smashed garlic cloves doesn't sound all that appealing but I'll take your word that it's good.
As I said in my previous post Mamma Mia's is better than Upper Crust for value but I don't think their Pizza is what it used to be.
The ravioli just don't seem to be made on premise. Their seems to be a play on words with restaurants these days. Is their a difference between "hand-made" and "homemade" and "house-made"? I'm not sure. I've experienced so called hand-made that turned out to be made by hand, just somewhere else. Also i've had homemade ravioli that was made in-house using pasta sheets sent from a company and filled at the restaurant. A bit deceiving in my book. I can only say that these ravioli have an industrial perfectness I didn't expect.
I'm aware of Carmela's and the food is unremarkable. But if you pay the extra $2.00 (+-?) supplement for the "fresh" pasta you get a similar product that again makes me wonder about the "home-madeness".
If it's all fresh and homemade than I stand corrected, I just doubt that it is.