Who doesn’t ever have a pizza craving? You know the drill. First there’s the craving, then the reality check, then the craving comes back, and here comes the reality check again, and then you just toss away all reason and cave in. In the end you just want it, plain and simple. Who cares if it’s not healthy? It’s pizza. Circular reasoning always wins.
Recently I’ve been curious about pizza quality in Portland, so I started scouring for places and found this excellent nook called Oven & Shaker. The restaurant prides itself for its stellar bar and pizzas. As I sat at my table and looked around, people seemed to be enjoying themselves–sipping cocktails, reaching for slices, discussing life and business. Oven & Shaker is a great place for people to share meals together.
I also spotted the brick oven in the back, fanning a furnace to bake copious numbers of pizzas. There was an impressive array of spirits against the wall along the bar. A staff member stood at a counter running a meat slicer to pop out delicate slices of salami and we all sat watching, riveted.
I went with my mom and sister, and between the three of us we split one pizza. Honestly it was plenty of noms, just the right portion to keep me satiated. We ordered a mushroom pizza that had a light layer of fontina cheese along with scallions, garlic, and large hunks of ricotta cheese on top. I wanted to try the meat as well, so we added a topping of wild fennel sausage.
The sausage definitely dominated the flavors on the pizza with plenty of rich flavors and spice, but the mushrooms were delicious as well and all the juices from the meat and vegetables soaked into the cheese. Each bite was heavenly.
The crust was my favorite, however. It was an impeccably light, airy pillow of dough that had a slightly dense texture. Oftentimes I’ll judge a pizza by its crust more than anything else, and Oven & Shaker’s crust was beautifully done. The dough on the bottom was a rather thin layer but none of the topping sagged. Perhaps the only downside of the food was the ricotta cheese–I suppose you can call me a picky mouse of sorts, since I only like particular cheeses. And unfortunately ricotta is not up there on my list, but I still appreciated its sweet yet savory taste.
Overall, I conclude that pizza is pizza.It will always live up to its reputation and earn a star of satisfaction. But this place did convince me to never look at a Domino’s pizza the same way ever again.