BEST PIZZA Minneapolis 2003 - Punch Neapolitan Pizza
704 Cleveland Ave. S.
St. Paul, MN 55116
Different strokes for different folks, they say. But we hate to admit that our favorite stroke-book might just be our tattered takeout menu from Punch, which we extract from the desk drawer whenever times get tough. From it we read about how the Punch proprietors keep their 800-degree oven stocked with wood, in order to cook that unbelievably tasty pizza crust in less than two minutes. Then we look at the cartoonish diagram that shows the fior di latte mozzarella, the red San Marzano imported tomatoes, and flame-blackened blisters that make that pizza so delectable. Soon there we are, perusing the well-known lists of decadent combinations: the pizza bianco "Alla Panna," with cream, prosciutto, onion, and Parmesan (sigh); the "Vesuvio," with spiced salami, pepperoncini, saracene olives, and basil (gulp); the, the... And there we are again, in the well-worn groove, casting aspersions on the toaster oven for not being the transporter-machine we were clearly promised in those early episodes of the Jetsons. And there we are again, throwing on an overcoat, running out the door, and joining the throngs outside the most titillating spot in all of St. Paul.