Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Tale of the Pie: Vic & Dean's

Located as it is at the end of a seeming dead end at the edge of a park in Wayne, Pa., Vic & Dean’s is not the easiest pizza shop to find. However, once you get a taste of their pizza, you will discover that any effort you put into arriving at the establishment’s doors will be justly rewarded.

Vic & Dean’s is a rather small, quaint place. D├ęcor is at a minimum, with decorations being limited to either Phillies memorabilia (a lot of pizza places like the Phillies, I guess) or kudos from various regional publications. There are maybe four or five tables inside, most of which were in constant use during our stay. The eight or so people behind the counter (it seemed like a little much, but it resulted in wonderful service) were busy answering phones for take-out and there was also a delivery man coming in and out on a regular basis. The place was obviously popular.

We started our meal with a salad, or, as Vic & Dean’s would call it, a Pizalad. To be honest, the name is a bit of a tease. When we ordered it, we thought we would be getting a salad on a pizza crust. Would that be way too much food? Probably. But it would also be unique and we just had to see what it would look like. When it emerged, it was nothing like we imagined. It was a sizeable salad in a plastic container, and it came with about four slices of warm pizza crust. While we were bummed that the presentation did not match our expectations, there is no doubting that the salad itself was tremendous. We ordered a Caesar, which came with romaine, croutons, sharp provolone, and Caesar dressing (truth be told, it also came with egg, but I asked for it off since I’m not a fan). The cheese was flavorful, the Romaine fresh and crunchy, and the dressing rich and spicy. While it was ample, we easily knocked back the entire thing.

For the pie, we ordered a large with red and green roasted peppers. The pie’s crust was perfect; its texture was crisp, but not too rigid. It also had a buttery garlic taste that popped tremendously. It should be said there were parts toward the middle that became a little soggy due to the weight of the cheese and the toppings. It made folding a little difficult at times and it did get a little sloppy in parts as well.

As for the cheese, it was very flavorful and gooey. You could taste the freshness. Spicy Hawaiian, who is a bit more of a cheese aficionado than I am, stated that she believed it was not just mozzarella; that it was a blend of cheeses. She also liked that it was a decent amount of cheese, but that it didn’t take over the pie. It still worked well with the other elements.
We had heard great things about the establishment’s toppings from a publication that we really have to stop naming until they decide to buy advertising or something. Well, although we were bound by religious contract to not eat meat on this day, the peppers were outstanding. They were roasted exquisitely . They were not overdone. There was the ideal amount of charring and they tasted of olive oil. Also, there was plenty of them. Not one bite was taken that did not include a delicious bit of vegetation.

If there is one element of the pie that I would take slight issue with, it would be the sauce. It was a thick sauce that was going for authentic tomato flavor. There seemed to be not much in the way of sugar or extra seasonings. I can respect that. This is not the case of a pizza establishment botching the number one element of the pie (in my view). They clearly have a philosophy about their sauce and they have most likely executed it to a tee. To me, it is simply that when you are boasting incredible toppings, zesty cheese, and an ideal crust, it is inevitable that a sauce this basic is going to fall into the background a bit. If I were to go back (and I hope to), I would probably order extra sauce. That way, the understated sauce would have a little bit more of a fighting chance against the other parts.

There is no doubt: Vic & Dean’s is a bit of a chore to get to. But do what it takes to get there. This is definitely an occasion where good things come to those who program their GPSs.
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Pros: Tasty, perfectly prepared toppings, flavorful, fresh cheese; crust has great texture and olive oil taste
Cons: Sauce has tendency to fall into the background a little bit; really need to get some truth in advertising going for that salad
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Vic & Dean’s
409 N. Wayne Ave.
Wayne, PA 19087
Vic & Dean's on Urbanspoon

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The Pizza Project
Just a nibble: http://twitter.com/ThePizzaProject
Single slice: http://www.facebook.com/ThePizzaProject
The full pie: http://thepizzaproject.blogspot.com/

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