by Alice Levitt
1205 Airport Pkwy., South Burlington, 802-862-7888
Remember those radio ads in which a man with an obviously fake southern accent declared Pizza Putt's offerings, "the best pizza in town?" I'd always been curious about the family-fun center's eponymous pies, but never gathered the, er, balls to try it until last night.
Once seated, we were handed the rules for all-you-can-eat Monday nights. Apparently, we'd lucked out. Each Monday, diners can gorge on all the large half-cheese-half-pepperoni pies they can force down their gullets for $4 a person. It starts at 5 p.m. and ends at 9 p.m., so theoretically, that's a lot of pizza.
We elected to try the deal, though I was awfully curious about the "Cajun Egyptian" pizza, named for the facility's pyramid mini-golf hole and... something Cajun, which could only have been the blackened chicken on top. For a more diverse experience, we ordered a few extras, too.
The pizza wasn't half bad. The thin, crisp crust was better than the stuff you get at plenty of Burlington-area favorites. I often complain that local pizzerias skimp on sauce, but it was ample on this pie. The tomato purée was garlicky and dotted with clumps of dried oregano. The cheese, according to the menu, was "Vermont whole-milk mozzarella." It was salty and gooey, as one would hope, though my blotting napkins got a healthy workout.
In search of protein, we ordered the "Super Chicken Combo," which included chicken tenders, popcorn chicken, and wings. Our introduction to the dish was less than auspicious. As you can see, lots of fresh carrots and celery were piled on top of the crispy chicken. Points awarded for the produce, points deducted for their wetness, which made the chicken soggy. I quickly moved them to another plate and dug in.
The chicken had been heated in an oven, not just thrown into the deep-frier. How do I know? Most pieces had one burnt side.
The meaty little chunks of popcorn chicken largely escaped that fate and I greatly enjoyed dipping them in the honey mustard, barbecue sauce and ranch dressing provided. The chicken tenders were fine once I scraped away the char, but it wasn't as easily removed from the wings. They were dressed in a pleasant garlic sauce, but the skin was loose and undercooked in some places and blackened in others. Not much fun.
At a dining establishment as casual as Pizza Putt, salads can speak volumes. The lettuce (both romaine and iceberg), in the simple tossed salad was sweet, green and fresh, as were the cucumbers. Tomatoes, on the other hand, were mottled with white and not fully ripe. Still, the dish exceeded my expectations, as did my general experience at Pizza Putt on all-you-can-eat Monday.
It may not have been "the best pizza in town," but for that price, I can't complain. Next time I hit the mini-golf links, put me down for a Cajun Egyptian.
Alice Eats is a weekly blog feature devoted to reviewing restaurants where diners can get a meal for two for less than $35. Got a restaurant you'd love to see featured? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.