5365 Alton Parkway
Irvine, CA 92604
Most people have a hard time keeping their new year's resolutions. Yes, me included. As I've gotten older I realize that this is because we make resolutions that are not that fun to keep. This year I decided to change my usual, save money, lose a little weight, and watch way less TV resolutions. I decided from now on I will only focus on resolutions that I'd consider fun and advantageous to me as a person. One of the goals I set for myself this year is to tackle my expanding list of restaurant tips. That's what has brought us to Pizza 90.
Pizza 90 was a tip from a reader named Eric, from a few years ago. If you are still reading this blog Eric, I'm very sorry it has taken me so long to get to your restaurant suggestion. Eric's pick was actually on the top of my list, which means it is the oldest restaurant tip that I have yet to go to, until now. Again, sorry for the delay Eric, and I hope you still enjoy this restaurant review site.
The build your own pizza concept exploded a few years back. Some of the entrants in these Chipotle-style pizza concepts have already bowed out, but I was happy to see that Pizza 90 was still in business when I did a little research on them prior to our visit. Pizza 90 is so named because their pizzas are fired up in a 900-degree pizza oven for 90 seconds. The 6,000-pound ovens are built in Italy and shipped to the US by boat.
There are currently two Pizza 90 locations, this Irvine one and the other being in Sherman Oaks. We visited the Irvine spot on a Tuesday evening at half-past seven. We must have missed the dinner rush, as there was not anyone in the restaurant other than Katie and I when we arrived. As our visit progressed there were a couple of customers that filed in behind us.
The premise of Pizza 90 is pretty commonplace these days. You build your pizza with whatever you want on your pizza. At Pizza 90 they have a red, white, or green sauced pizza you can choose from, and then you add veggies, meats, cheeses, and finish it off with seasonings or maybe some garlic. Too complicated for you? There are 11 Neapolitan classics to pick from for people that don't want the headache of coming up with their own creation. Let's see how Pizza 90 compares to their other build your own pizza competitors.
Katie was really pushing for a salad to start her meal at Pizza 90, and after having this Market Salad ($8.99) I'm really glad we got this one. The market salad here is made up of a spring mix of greens, cubed apple, pear, plenty of blue cheese, toasted walnuts, and we substituted the usual champagne dressing for ranch dressing. It's been a few weeks since we have had this salad, and I still think about it, which says a lot for a salad. The produce was fresh, the apple and pear added a nice sweetness, and there was plenty of blue cheese included on this. We couldn't have asked for a better start to our meal.
Katie did not want to be bothered to create her own pizza, so she selected one of their classics, the BBQ Chicken Pizza ($8.99). This pizza came with chicken, mozzarella, caramelized onion, red onion, parsley, and was finished with a drizzle of barbecue sauce on top. Katie liked the interaction of the toppings on this one but felt that there might have been too much barbecue sauce on this. Neapolitan pizzas are usually a little damp in the middle, and this one was no exception. She'd ask for light bbq sauce next time, but otherwise, she called this pizza yummy.
When I'm at a build your own pizza place, my order does not really shift around too much. On my Build My Own Red Pizza ($8.99) I got all the meats, then added red onion, and jalapenos. Nothing too crazy, I like to keep it simple. I was let down by this pizza. Katie was right, the pizza was wet in the middle, but I did expect that, but not to this degree. I did like the thicker than I was expecting crust on this pizza, with its slight char to it. The toppings really did not provide too much in the way of flavor. I had to douse each slice with red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese to keep things interesting.
Pizza 90 was fine, but it could not beat out my two current favorite build your own pizza restaurants, Blaze and MOD. It's not a good sign when the most memorable thing about a pizza place was the salad, (although it was a really good salad). I felt the middle of the pizza here was too moist and it made the pizza too hard to eat with my hands. I also felt the toppings lacked any pop of flavor and made for a rather bland pizza. If you are near here and want pizza, and don't want CPK, which is in the same shopping center, then Pizza 90 would be a fair option. It feels good to cross this one off of our list, and I look forward to getting to more of your restaurant picks very soon.
Out of five diamonds, (because 90 feet is the distance between the bases on a baseball field, also known as a diamond), five being best to zero being worst, Pizza 90 gets 2.5 diamonds.
For more information about Pizza 90, head to their website here: http://www.pizza90.com/