Monday, August 1, 2016

The People vs. Jet's Pizza

Jet's Pizza is a national chain which has opened its first location in Austin, on Brodie Lane.

Majority Opinion from Chief Pizza Justice Kevin

"Good" is a difficult word to parse sometimes, so let's simply say that I would call Jet's good, and my doctor would not agree with me.

Jet's is that kind of chain where anything that can go through a pizza oven and come out decent is on offer. Wings, salad, subs, and of course, pizza. Subdivide the pizza into round, square, New York, and gluten-free crusts, and throw in the kind of bizarre creations that bored delivery guys make. Oh - and don't forget to "flavorize" your crust with eight varieties of special ingredient, including "Jet's Turbo Crust". Jet's is delivery and carry-out, at least in our neck of the woods, so Karin and I took home three items: Jet's Bread (a sort of deep dish cheesestick covered in butter); a four corner Meatball Supremo; and a small (round) vegetarian.

Let's get the bad out of the way. The vegetarian was a pizza and not much more. The ingredients and the crust were both pretty bland - you could forget you're eating it while you're eating it. The crust appeared to go through some kind of machine that was visible from behind the counter. It went in a lump, and came out flat and round. I'm not enough of a connoisseur to tell you how much that hurt the crust, but certainly the crust lacked the fluffiness and texture I'd like to see in even a chain crust. Two thirds of the pizza died an inglorious death, reheated and slathered in enough ranch to make me forget how bland they were.
Mind you, that ranch.

Which brings us to the good, and there is no quicker way to summarize the good at Jet's than "Ranch Dressing". Their menu lists their ranch as "world famous". Like all lunatic marketing lines, "world famous" made me want to try the ranch so I could find out how terrible was. I was disappointed and pleased to find that the ranch dressing is some of the best I've ever had. It occurs to me I never realized ranch dressing could be particularly good. This ranch was buttery, with a viscous consistency, and I may actually be buying the bottles they apparently sell.

The Meatball Supremo won considerable praise. Pepperoni, mild peppers, and meatballs. I was initially concerned that the meatballs would be nothing more than an inconvenience, but the garlic undertone they supplied went perfectly with the pepperoni, and the pepperoni, as I believe I've mentioned in discussing other pizzas, were the perfect vehicle to provide an undercurrent to the spice of the peppers. The crust, which is specifically the crust on their four and eight corner pizzas, is square and deep. It is reminiscent of Via 313 - certainly not that good, but it comes closer than a chain has any right to. The square crust was crisp, with a layer of soft breading between topping and crust. It may be the best chain pizza crust I've ever had.

Jet's bread was served on the same crust, essentially cheesesticks, but slathered in butter, garlic, and romano (the "Turbo" option on the flavorizer menu). "Turbo Option on the Flavorizer Menu" is, incidentally, my favorite Electric Six song. My finger could leave see-through fingerprints on paper from all the grease, but the flavor works - you can certainly tell it's greasy, but the grease is never overpowering, and the flavor comes through as buttery, cheesy, delight, particularly in the ranch dressing. I'm sure every bite of the combination took a year off my life.

The two products we enjoyed simply didn't care about being gourmet food. They struck a reasonably balanced palette, forgot that heart valves need to be kept clear, and did everything they wanted to do until they hit 11. Previously I spoke about subtlety in pizza, and though the garlic undertone to the Meatball Supremo is an appreciated stab in that direction, Jet's can't really be given any points in that department. It's food to be eaten in the dark, alone, promising yourself you'll start working out Monday. It's damn good at that.

The round crust is to be soundly ignored in favor of the four and eight corner sizes.

Dissenting Opinion from Pizza Justice Karin

After the physical and psychological digestion of this meal, I disagree that the grease was not overpowering. I found myself quite powerless in its clutches. In other words, I didn't quit eating, but I wanted to.

Jet's wasn't bad, but the best tasting items were also ones that it is hard to justify even as an indulgent treat. Instead, I could order some Papa Johns or haul myself out of the house to an actual restaurant, both of which will allow me to pretend I'm doing something other than eating cheesy butter conveniently processed to be eaten with my fingers.

On other hand, I am too curious about some of the menu items (like subs) to say that I won't be back.

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