It was #1 on Yelp and I was hesitant. The menu seems to contain some ingredients that are there purely for the pretension (i.e. truffle oil on a pepperoni basil pizza, which I couldn't bring myself to try, so I hold on my principled disdain of it without hard evidence that it is, in fact, a pizza abomination). But, it also had some delicious looking stuff. So we went. I wish I knew I'd be blogging this at the time, because I would have taken more photos. I loved the interior decor of Thirteen Pies. It's dark, deep wood and leather with an open kitchen area and two big wood ovens with vents ascending through the ceiling.
The gimmick is that there are 12 regular pies on the menu and a mystery 13th pie (though this turned out to be more of a chef's special posted on the wall than a true mystery like The Thing from Southside Flying Pizza where you don't know what you're getting until it arrives). The current 13th pie was cuban sandwich inspired and very very tasty. (and here again comes my want of additional photos, because I'll have to try to remember the ingredients by memory) It had pulled pork, ham, ricotta, gruyere, mustard, and bread and butter pickles. The pork had maintained its moisture and, as the heart of a cuban, put my mind in the right place to enjoy the rest. The bread and butter pickles were a great choice to add crunch and a little bit of sweetness. They offset the salty ham and general savoriness of the rest.
My nitpicking suggestions for this pizza, my husband assures me, would take this pizza further from its cuban roots, though I argue farther into deliciousness. I wish it had been more mustard forward (which can be done, I've had pizzas at both Pinthouse and House that perfected the balance on a mustard sauce), I wish the cheese had been more there flavor-wise. My husband argues that the cheese in a cuban sandwich is always just there. Again, these are nitpicks. We enthusiastically ate this pizza.
Next we tried the "Straight", which is a plain mozzarella, basil, and pecorino pie. You know my opinion on aged cheeses shredded on a pizza: If it needs to be there, it should be on the menu and come that way. This needed to be there and was really the star of this pizza. The sharp lemony flavor of the pecorino worked with the milder sauce and mozzarella to create a bite with layers of flavor to experience. I had to balance taking my time and enjoying it with wanting as much of this pizza in my face as possible.
For dessert we went with the zeppole, which are fried dough balls. They were served with a tart jam (the waiter wasn't sure whether it was cranberry or rhubarb) and honey. It was a great way to end the meal (though, to be nitpicky again, because I can be, if I were to be a place that insists on turning wagyu beef into meatballs, I might also be the kind of place to spring for varietal honey to be super-fancy).
I don't know why I'm still so contrary about Thirteen Pies. Everything we had was delicious and the atmosphere was great. If someone took me here on a date I'd be impressed. Maybe someone else can check it out and find out whether or not their meat parade (named "Crumbled Meats") needs truffle oil or not.
P.S. I am reminded by their Twitter profile that the service was fantastic. Attentive, friendly, there when I needed them, not there when I didn't need them.
Canne Rosso (which now has a location in Austin)