Blast from the pizzeria past
BY DORIE CLARK
As more and more pizzerias jump on the artichokes-and-asiago bandwagon, it seems harder than ever to find high-quality pies made the old-fashioned way, with just the right proportion of tomato sauce to mozzarella. Caesar’s Pizza & Subs, located in Somerville’s Union Square, across from the Market Basket grocery store and its gargantuan parking lot, is one of the holdouts. Open since 1978, Caesar’s in some ways remains stuck in the past. There are the orange and wood-grained tables, which were probably installed during the Carter administration; the standard maps of Italy and Boston; and a hefty dose of World War II nostalgia, with more than a dozen vintage Coca-Cola posters adorning the walls. Appropriately, you can get a glass bottle of Coke for a buck. In a real throwback, the shop even sells packs of cigarettes ($4.50).
But the most classic element of all is the food. Abandon all hope of capers or goat cheese; the most exotic ingredient on the menu is probably pineapple (to go with the ham on your pizza). Caesar’s eschews esoteric culinary trends for a reason: it’s got the basics down to an art. The cheese pizza ($6.55 small/$9.25 large) is satisfyingly chewy, with an addictive mix of sweet (the tomato sauce) and salty (the mozzarella). Generous portions of toppings can be had for an additional $1 (large) or 75 cents (small). The eggplant parmesan ($7.25) is hot, crispy, and not too heavily breaded (the dish's most common pitfall), though the cheese ravioli that accompanies it tastes a little over-frozen. The garden salad ($2.95/$3.95) is simple and fresh, and the sandwiches — like the small Italian sub ($3.95) — are meat-stuffed and filling. The menu at Caesar’s is more Godfather than gourmet — but sometimes a classic sauce-and-cheese pizza makes you an offer you can’t refuse.
Caesar’s Pizza & Subs, located at 401 Somerville Avenue, in Somerville, is open Monday through Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Call (617) 776-9942.Issue Date: November 29 - December 6, 2001
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