After my smash slice at Sal’s Pizzeria & Pasta House, I figured I better get to work on the rest of the joints in Sarasota’s Gateway Shopping Center. So, wasting no time, I burned little calories in walking across the road to Rico’s Pizzeria. I got there so quick I even managed to continue with the same CNN news story that was blaring when I left Sal’s.
Inside, Rico’s was your typical pizza joint from the red-checkered table cloths to the map of New York City on the wall. Making my way to the counter over some small talk about this rainy day at the beach, although I was tempted by the squares I saw sitting out, I requested an out-of-sight regular PC (plain cheese) slice that set me back two and change. To the question of “box or plate,” I chose the later and went to a table in the otherwise empty room to wait.
My slice was ready in a flash and at first glance was somewhat of a scare since it looked as white as Casper the Ghost. The tomato sauce was all but buried beneath the cheese atop which I could detect a trace sprinkling of oregano. Unlike this unnatural un-blending of two of the three key ingredients, the crust was expertly toasted to an enticing crispness which turned out to be this slice’s salvation.
But ouch! It was served too hot which made it both uncomfortable to eat as well as a challenge to allow the cheese to keep a grip on the crust and hold its ground. And we all know how difficult it is for a pizza lover to patiently wait for a slice to cool down.
Again, I can point to the tasty and chewy crust to making this slice somewhat desirable despite the taste of the cheese falling short in my book and the shortage of tomato sauce. It was a bit of a letdown after my previous slice across the way a just moments ago, and it’s often quite a task for taste to overcome a slice failing my visual test. I’m sorry to be so blunt, but pizza just shouldn’t look like this.
One thing to note about this place is that it is not to be confused with Rico’s Pizzeria & Pasta that has four locations in the general area. I’d make it to one of those later during an even more disappointing experience during my Western Florida stay. I wouldn’t think that Rico was as common a pizza name as Tony or Vinny, but what do I know.
PIZZA SNOB RATING *** Better Than Domino’s
6547 Gateway Ave.
Sarasota, FL 34231