Old 02-18-2011, 06:11 PM
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: minnesota, usa
Posts: 472
Default Black Sheep Pizza, Mpls, MN

Much-hyped, much-loved here in Mpls.
I don't do hype.

A big part of their schtick and name is "coal-fired", but what I saw was a (huge) Woodstone gas fired oven, no coal. Maybe they save that for when it's a full house, I dunno. I guess I have an issue with that. Call me a purist, but I think that if you're going to bill yourself as "coal fired pizza" then cook with coal. But I guess "gas fired pizza, possibly sometimes with some coal for effect" isn't quite as catchy. So demerits for not walkin' the walk.

Anyway, the pizza is good. Not at all knock my socks off, but good, and solidly on the "places that do decent Neo-style" list, vs. those that have a "____-fired oven" and make their pizzas on premade, frozen crusts.
The Black Sheep crust is flavorless and lacks that creamy mouth feel that comes from better flour and retarding of dough, but the texture was decent and it was well cooked. Take an extra step or two to bust a little more flavor out of that dough and it'd be killer.
The ingredient selection could stand a little more variety, but maybe that's a seasonal thing.

Alas, pizzeria splatgirl can breathe easy. I'm still on top, and, conveniently, right on my doorstep
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Old 02-20-2011, 11:06 PM
Il Pizzaiolo
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: San Antonio
Posts: 1,719
Default Re: Black Sheep Pizza, Mpls, MN

Good review splat!

I agree on the ovens. I really chewed out a pizzaria owner who claimed VPN status and made his pizzas in a deck oven. His "VPN" (show) oven was about 400 degrees and he used it only to warm pizza slices and pies. Wood is wood, coal is coal, and deck ovens aren't WFOs!

Love your description of his dough and the contrast to what you expect!

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Old 02-21-2011, 09:27 AM
GianniFocaccia's Avatar
Il Pizzaiolo
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Disneyland, CA
Posts: 1,633
Default Re: Black Sheep Pizza, Mpls, MN

Love your review, girl. It's always interesting to read accounts of pizzarias' marketing in order to stand out. On the other hand, while at lunch last week I got a visit from the Manager of a California Pizza Kitchen who stopped by my table asking how the service was. I asked him what kind of oven he had in the kitchen. Rather than proudly describing his rig he instantly went into defense-mode and whimpered that he only had a 'ceramic' oven and when asked, confirmed it was gas-fired.
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Old 02-21-2011, 10:06 AM
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: minnesota, usa
Posts: 472
Default Re: Black Sheep Pizza, Mpls, MN

You know, I was suspicious about the "coal-fired" from day one. Not that I know anything about coal for cooking purposes, but I just couldn't and still can't imagine the logistics of running what turns out to be an INsanely huge oven 15 hours a day, every day, using coal. (Plus their oven is about 2x bigger than it needs to be, IMO.) The thing is, I bet when I tell anyone who knows of or has ever eaten at this place that there is actually little or no coal involved, they won't believe me.
Ah, marketing.
Don't mind me. I'm the crazy girl who never got the memo, sitting here beating the drum for critical thinking long after the masses have left the building.

We are lucky to have a consistently excellent true VPN place here which makes places like this irrelevant to anyone but the hype lemmings (um...sheep?!?), IMO.
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Old 02-21-2011, 12:13 PM
acbova's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: York, PA
Posts: 62
Default Re: Black Sheep Pizza, Mpls, MN

Sometimes it amazes me that in some culinary areas how easy it is to do better at home then a great percentage of restaurants. In most cases all it takes is a little skill, attention, and time. A garden does not hurt either. Salsa, BBQ and Pizza are some obvious examples.
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Old 02-27-2011, 06:21 AM
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: MN, USA
Posts: 346
Default Re: Black Sheep Pizza, Mpls, MN

Hey Splat- I'm glad you mentioned this place as I want to give it a try. I too, don't like the improper definition if they don't walk the walk.
I'll still go and give a try too, but thanks for the heads up. There's another place in Edina.. have you tried that one yet? My daughter went and didn't like it as much as the local franchise place. Although, she probably isn't the best to gauge taste (she's only 17).
My oven (for now):

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Old 02-27-2011, 07:10 AM
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: minnesota, usa
Posts: 472
Default Re: Black Sheep Pizza, Mpls, MN

Pizzeria Lola is next on my list and has been getting killer reviews. They have a gorgeous French WFO. I expect them to make me wish I lived in the neighborhood.
The one in Edina is probably Mozza Mia. It's part of the Parasole restaurant group so that makes me dislike it reflexively. I probably will not bother. Reviews and press have been pretty bad, and Parasole basically invented the schtick, at least around here.
All of that said, I see no reason to look past Punch, like ever. Quality wavers a bit depending on the location, time of day and pizzaiolo, but the worst pie I've ever had from them was still pretty darn great.
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Old 03-12-2011, 09:35 AM
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Minneapolis
Posts: 18
Default Re: Black Sheep Pizza, Mpls, MN

Splatgirl, I pretty much had the same thoughts when I went there as well.
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Old 06-19-2012, 04:19 PM
RandyJ's Avatar
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Maple Grove MN
Posts: 226
Default Re: Black Sheep Pizza, Mpls, MN

I just went to Pizzaira Lola this weekend and it was very good. Probally the best that I have ever had. We got the sunny side and lady zaza. Both were excellent. The sunny side has two eggs as the main toppings and the other one had Kimchi and sarono chilies and sausage.

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