The night before I grabbed my last MN burger lunch with my dad at the Bulldog, I grabbed my last MN dinner with my madre at one of our favorite spots.
Punch Pizza takes the Neapolitan pizza seriously. Punch is among the few U.S. restaurants to be certified by Vera Pizza Neapolitana (V.P.N), the Naples organization that oversees that quality of those wishing to take the V.P.N title. Aside from the three letters, the title means that Punch makes some of the best Neapolitan pizza you can find outside of Naples. Better than some I’ve had in Naples. Really freaking good pizza!
The certification means an eagle’s eye attention to ingredients and process. The pizza is cooked at 800 degrees in a bell shaped wood fired oven. The high heat creates a crispy crust with a doughy layer under the toppings. The uninitiated might think the crust is burned. It’s not. That crisp, with the occasional blackened spot, is exactly how it should be. It’s a unique style of pizza perfectly designed to celebrate quality ingredients.
My mother had the margherita. As always, it encapsulated the prefect simplicity of basil, mozzarella, and crushed tomatoes. I opted for the vesuvio (spiced salami, saracene olive, cracked red pepper, piparras pepper, and basil). The vesuvio was good, but in my selection my mind was too much on one of my favorite Brooklyn haunts, Toby’s. There was just to much going on. I should have kept things simple and ordered the margherita extra, a prefect combination basil, mozzarella di bufala and crushed San Marzano tomatoes. Similar to the regular margherita, but made with absolutely the best ingredients to be found.
Eating at Punch took me back to innumerable dinners with friends and family over amazing pies and back to Naples. If you live in the Twin Cities and haven’t made your way to Punch yet, now is the time!