Friday, July 24, 2015

Sbarro Food Review II

Sicilian Pepperoni & Sausage

When I think of Sbarro, I can't help but recall one of my favorite TV comedies of all-time... The Office. Michael Scott (Steve Carell) was singing Sbarro's praises as his "favorite New York pizza joint." It's a joke, of course; but chain or not, it does sell pizza... which means it's open for review. We graded it before with less than enthusiastic results (Overall: C-) but that was inside Montgomery Mall. Since then, Sbarro has added a stand-alone location next to the DC Convention Center. We stopped by last month, to try it out.

Give Sbarro credit: They had plenty of customers at 7 PM on a Friday night, with lots of other nearby dining options. Mostly tourists, but Sbarro was about to be inspected by a lifetime Washingtonian. Time to impress. The order taker was grumpy; but I pressed on, and asked for a slice of Sicilian Pepperoni & Sausage. It has a thicker crust, and I like to order it whenever it's available. Moving on to the cashier, my mood improved greatly: She couldn't have been nicer, and quickly made up for her "less-than-enthusiastic" co-worker. I paid $8.29 for a Combo meal (Garlic Breadsticks and a fountain drink.) She gave me the breadsticks and cup, and (after it was heated up) brought over my slice a few minutes later. She alone, literally saved the day (and this review.)

Garlic Breadsticks

Atmosphere is rather sterile inside (lots of white) but how long does one spend in here anyhow? There's a good number of tables; and for the most part, it's pretty clean. Call me crazy, but I kinda like sitting with tourists.

In regards to taste, not much has changed. The breadsticks looked nice (you can ask for Pepperoni Sticks instead, although that seems redundant) but didn't pack much flavor. They're very doughy; but once you dip them in the hot marinara sauce, all is (temporarily) forgiven. That sauce is actually pretty tasty and zesty (pasta next time?)

My Sicilian slice was a lot better than Sbarro's standard option. For starters, it's more filling; and while the toppings aren't necessarily "zesty and seasoned" as advertised, you get a lot of them. The cheese is 100% whole milk mozzarella, and it's gooey and (surprise!) yummy. Not much sauce, which is a shame; but hats off for heating the slice thoroughly (unlike my aforementioned prior visit.)

Bottom line: Sbarro remains a familiar/safe spot to grab a slice; but it's far from a destination eatery. On the other hand, it's better than the limited dining options inside the Convention Center; and after all that walking around, why not eat "closer to home?"

Atmosphere: C- (Sterile isn't good, is it?)
Breadsticks: C+ (Doughy, but edible. Surprisingly good marinara sauce.)
Crust: B- (Thick, but not too thick. Easy to handle.)
Toppings: C+ (Yummy cheese. Everything else was average.)
Value: B- (Under 10 bucks for a slice, side and soda, so close to the Convention Center? Not bad.)
Service: B (Order taker was terrible, but cashier couldn't have been nicer.)
Overall: C+ (Slightly better than average. Friendly cashier almost raises the grade to a B-.)