RC Gallegos, best known in these parts for his first RC's Pizza & Pasta out in Kingwood, has finally opened up his new location in The Woodlands, RC's NYC Pizza & Pasta on Sawdust Road - having gutted and remodeled what was Steel City Pizza. We sat down with RC on this, the night before his official opening, to sample some of his award winning pizzas and welcome him to the neighborhood. One of the first things RC will tell you about his pizzas is that they are New York, Street pizza. Which is good to know; because anyone that loves a good pizza (and who doesn't?) and has tried a lot of them, knows that there are many different styles.
In fact, to be fair, there's probably several dozen types just across New York City. But what makes RC's pizza NYC Pizza are these three things: a thinner crust (which has an edge, not just flat all the way out), thinner sauce (so as not to overwhelm the crust and leave it soggy), and thinner (or less thick) cheese (for the same reason as the sauce). RC refers to this as an authentic New York City Street Pizza. And he would know, having grown up there and learning his craft in famous pizzerias such as Bleecker Street Pizza, the three-time winner of "Best Pizza in New York by Food Network.
This was a private event, meant to help the staff work a few more kinks out - so this isn't a full review. But we know you want to know about RC's, especially if you haven't been to his Kingwood location, so here's a little peek at some of the pizzas & sides he's got cooking up:
We started out with some garlic knots (four of them for $2.75), served with ranch dressing and RC's own traditional pizza sauce. We could definitely detect the sweetness of the hand-made dough (RC's own, secret recipe), and appreciated the amount of garlic and butter both in and on each knot.
Our first of four pies on which to feast our eyes (see what I did there?) was the Sicilian Pie (a massive 18" x 13" for $18.75). This feat of gastro-engineering is twice-proofed and twice-baked. To ensure all 1/2-3/4" of that wonderful crust gets baked all the way through, the dough is proofed twice, then baked, then turned over, topped, and baked again.
The result was a very nice, baked-all-the-way-through, crisp-but-chewy crust, with just the right amounts of sauce, cheese, and fresh basil. For the carb-hound of us (*cough*her*cough*) it could easily be a stand-alone meal. But we're told you can actually add toppings should you so desire.
Next up, we sampled one of RC's signature pies, the Kennedy Pie (14" for $18.50), made with RC's "Great White" sauce, chicken, baby spinach, garlic, and fresh tomatoes, this pizza had a unique mix of flavors that blended together nicely. What's more, that nice, thin crust didn't suffer under the toppings, maintaining it's composure from the first bites to the "bones," which made for the thin crust lover of us (read: him) to be happy.
Our third sampling (and just to clarify - the two of us most certainly did not eat four whole pizzas on our own!) was The Godfather (14" for $18.50), to which we did a little altering of the toppings. The norm is traditional sauce, cheese, pepperoni, smoked ham, mushrooms, bell peppers and red onions. We omitted the mushrooms and added black olives, banana peppers and jalapeños. In hindsight, we should have left well enough alone, or just switched out the mushrooms for one other topping - the black olives, perhaps. With a NYC Street-style pizza, too many toppings overwhelm the crust; especially those which expel any amount of water, like vegetables. So if you go for The Godfather - leave the meats, take away the (extra) veggies (okay, okay, bad pun-work. So sue me.).
Our final adventure for the night was a Grandma Pie (a massive 18" x 13" for $16.75). In looking for a way to describe what exactly a Grandma Pie is, I came across the following description: "If a brownie was a pizza it would be the grandma slice." This seems altogether accurate. The Grandma Pie is a nice, 1/2" thick crust, made upside-down - which is to say cheese first, then sauce - and with a generous sprinkling of fresh basil. Like the Sicilian, the monstrosity is also baked all the way through (though not twice), ensuring a good, even amount of crusty-chewy texture and no raw, stretchy dough.
RC's opens Friday, September 20, starting with a semi-limited menu which will include all of their award-winning pizzas, as well as most all of their appetizers, calzones, Strombolis, and a few other items. As training wraps up over the next couple of weeks, they'll be adding in the remainder of the full menu, which includes a little something for everyone - from salads to subs, baked and traditional pastas, and of course desserts - as well as offering catering and delivery.
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