Finding himself unexpectedly in Elizabeth, New Jersey on a weekday afternoon, the Pizza Snob took a chance on some unplanned pie. Unfortunately, I struck out when I arrived to find that my targeted destination of well-respected pizza place Spirito’s Restaurant was closed during the day time. However, since I was jonesin’ for a slice, I maneuvered my way around town to find the unheralded Bella Pizza.
Bella sits on busy Broad Street right in the heart of downtown Elizabeth across from the Union County Courthouse. Taking advantage of the downtown hustle-bustle, Bella looks to thrive as a “street-slice spot.” Despite offering pizzas of the pan, gourmet and stuffed varieties in addition to other Italian menu items, I suspect that walk-in slices are strategically one of their best sellers.
There were a few slice styles displayed on the counter which sat off to the left opposite a row of tables and chairs on the right. The local, and hopefully in-the-know, police officer savoring a slice was a good sign. I ordered a plain cheese slice for two bucks and watched them throw it in the oven for a reheat.
The slice looked promising with the exception of being rather light in color which raised some suspicion. It had much more of a yellow tone than red. It didn’t take long to warm up, and my slice and I soon found a seat at a table in the front.
The slice was well-assembled and received an almost perfect score for construction. It had just the right amount of cheese and crust, but perhaps was scant on tomato sauce which explained its light color. My plain “cheeser” was cooked somewhat crisp despite any noticeable char on the bottom crust.
With ingredients this trim, a slice like this doesn’t take long to disappear. This can be a good thing in that a slim slice usually allows the consumption of multiple slices. However, after my 30-second dining experience, despite its inviting construction, Bella’s potentially-promising slice had to be one of the dullest-flavored that I have ever had! I’d chalk it up to the skimpy use of tomato sauce and only a trace of seasoning.
I was also disappointed with the flavor of both the cheese and crust. The taste of both was just off. They were not the normal satisfying flavors that the Snob’s taste buds are used to enjoying.
While I doubt I will be back in this neck of the woods anyway, I don’t think I’d care to revisit Bella. Their pizza just lacks the pizazz that I like to see in a slice. Their score gets its value from keeping the slice slim and trim and cooking it crisp. It was a case of style without the taste.
PIZZA SNOB RATING *** ½ Working on a Good Thing
5 Broad Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201