Saturday, April 4, 2015

Pizza Rock Las Vegas - Royal Flusher Restaurant Review

While travelling in Vegas, what could make you forget about your potentially missing $300 Start-o-matic remote car starter key fob? A really good pizza, that's what.

I'd sampled a couple of slices from Pizza Rock a few days before, and they were good, but they really didn't do justice to the disks that P.R. is creating. The cold, aging pizzas on display still looked delicious, and my reheated slices tasted pretty good but (I was guessing) paled in comparison to their former selves.

No, I simply had to sample a freshly made, still hot pizza to see how good it could be.

I stepped into a bustling Pizza Rock (which is right next to the Downtown Grand and a two minute stroll from the Fremont Street Experience), and asked about a table - but the place was buzzing and I could tell it was a no-go.

Fortunately, there was bar seating, which suited me fine.

The restaurant was a lot bigger inside than I'd imagined and sported a pseudo-metal/industrial post-Genovese sports pub wine bar vibe with touches of techno-fetish eco-concious ornamentation all housed in a ersatz-chic repurposed brick loft-like space. Yes, it was hard to qualify, but when I came across the Peterbilt semi, complete with painted flames and shrieking with chrome, I knew I had it nailed.
Peterbilt. Courtesy Google.
The place was hopping and had a good vibe going on with great music and I found a spot at the bar.

I don't really know what these adornments are. But they are big and aluminum.
The barkeeps greeted me and got me going with a big ole mug of draft from their decent selection of on-taps. On to the menu...

Pizza at Pizza Rock is a craft. There are all kinds of variations that you've never heard of. They pride themselves on their crusts and innovative flavor combinations. On the menu, elegant simplicity is emphasized, starting with the princess of pizzas, the Margherita and branching from there.

This is not your strip mall pizza with the cartoon pseudo-Italian fat chef smiling and making the 'ok' sign.
No strip mall pizza here.
What I really wanted was a more traditional pizza, beautifully done, but I had trouble finding one on the menu, partly because most of the choices that would fit the bill would be way too much for one person. I settled on the $19 Cal Italia, which won some sort of Gold Medal or other. It features: Asiago, Mozzarella, Imported Gorgonzola, Sweet Fig Preserve, Prosciutto di Parma, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Balsamic Reduction.

I figured if it was good enough for a TV competition award, it was good enough for me. And, the barkeep told me it wasn't too terribly huge.

A fellow traveler sat down at the spot next to me and we got talking. He is in Vegas many weeks of the year, solo, a couple of weeks at a time, so he knew a lot about how to get by on long stays.

He told me that he works in complex multi-site back-end high availability mission critical corporate infrastructure systems.

I told him that I make size 7 grommets for Royal Canadian Veeblefetzer.
We hit it off beautifully. Nice guy, and he had the same problem that I had - what to eat for the solo diner? He settled on a simple standard pepperoni pizza. (I'd had a slice of that a couple of days before and the pepperoni was very high quality stuff. Again, not the 'ok' pizza guy stuff you imagine when you think pepperoni.)

It turns out that you can indeed get a personal sized pizza during happy hour - so for solo folks, that might be the way to go.

It was about this time that the noise level of the place started to get to me - I always feel for the staff who have to work in such conditions. It seems okay at first, but when you have to shout to talk to the mission critical guy next to you, you realize it's too much.

The pizza arrived and it was gorgeous and piping hot.

The crust was gorgeous, thinish with a great chew and a bit of crunch. The little slabs of asagio packed a punch and were countered with the sweetness of the fig preserve drizzled on top in a yellow-brick-road motif. (There must be a better way to do this, because that's they way I'd do it and I don't know what I'm doing.)

It's pretty hard to beat such an honest crust with top quality ingredients when it is fresh from the oven and in front of you in its purest, freshest form.

I decided to forego the rather thick edges of the crust and concentrate on the middle, and I did manage to eat most of it.

While I was on the second half of mine, I found that the fig stuff was starting to get old. It was too much sweetness and I started avoiding it. Meanwhile, my neighbor's simple but gigantic pepperoni pizza arrived.

I became a little jealous because I realized that that was what I would have preferred. I still loved my pizza but I also still have a little of the OK pizza guy in me.

Ultimately, the way to go about Pizza Rock is to have a bunch of people and be able to sample three or four pies because there are so many incredible sounding choices on the menu.

I will definitely be back!

Pizza Rock Las Vegas
201 N 3rd St.
Las Vegas, NV 89101

Royal Flusher Restaurant Royal Rating - 3-and-a-half-to-a-Royal

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