These may be some of the tastiest pizzas Phantom has ever found.
“What makes a good pizza is first, the crust. Crispy without being hard or too chewy. The sauce, the cheese, the toppings are all in harmony. That’s the magic of good cooking. And that’s…what separates great pizza from good pizza.”
And you can get all of that greatness by the slice at Dragon Pizza.
Located in Somerville, Dragon Pizza is a classic slice shop started by Charlie Redd and Keenan Langlois- two chefs with fine dining backgrounds, who wanted to take all of their culinary know-how and apply it to pizza.
“One of the things that Keenan and I share is that we love cooking, and we love the details and cooking. And we love the and the details that create strong, beautiful flavors. People want to have accessibility. They want to know that the food that they get is cooked by the people that own the place.”
“You come in, you get a slice, sit down for a little bit, kind of mix it up with the owners. It’s really stripped down. It’s, it’s just us cooking and serving the guests like right over a counter…And it’s a place where we just have a lot of fun.”
In this Davis Square operation, they’re doing things their way. So the menu is ever-changing and spray painted onto paper sheets before service. There’s no website, but you can find this evening’s options available on their Instagram. The television is usually running an old favorite. And forget about some high tech sound system; cause here, Charlie’s cassettes supply the tunes.
“Those tapes that I have, and we play here in the restaurant, or physically made by somebody for me and then I’m able to enjoy on a regular basis. And that’s kind of symbolic of what we’re trying to do here.”
What they’re doing behind the counter is pizza perfection.
“I would say, like New York style. It’s 18 inches around. The slices are big enough to just have one for a good a good meal. And, you know, we toss it in the air, we stretch it around smattering of sauce, and we cook it right on the deck.”
“We’re trying to put the same concepts of assembling flavors..and textures that we put into a fine dining dish that we’ve created for decades into a slice of pizza.”
So you can go for the simple but satisfying Pepperoni, topped with a three cheese blend and Vermont artisnal ‘roni. This flavor bomb layered with broccoli rabe, chilli and parmesean. Or opt for this homage to Fall River.
“We call that the Fall River special. So the all the elements of a Portuguese stew, clams, linguica, kale. We thought we’d play well out on a pizza. And we were right.”
But the most famous pie on Dragon’s menu has to be the Maple Bacon Cheddar Pizza- drizzled with a Chili Maple Glaze, this flavor packed pie is enhanced with the help of bacon lardons, Keenan’s favorite cut.
“I think that the bacon lardon is is the finest form of bacon. It’s a thick cut nub of bacon. You get you bite into it and all that that salty porkness is right in there. And the nice cube and then we use an aged cheddar cheese and then some fresh green onions on there and. we’ve got this chili Maple glazed that we make. So we drizzled that on it. And all of a sudden, it was a hit, there’s garlic in there, and ginger and chili and the sweetness and that Maple flavor in there, like hit the bacon and the, and the cheese. And we knew we had a hit.”
The most controversial pizza has to be the sausage ricotta sprinkled with housemade sausage and hit with dollops of creamy ricotta- which depending upon who’s manning the pizza oven, can come out one of two ways.
“We make the sausage in house and break up that sausage onto a tomato sauce and cheese pizza with big scoops of ricotta depending on who you talk to. Kenan like big scoops. I like medium sized groups all around.”
“I like the big globs of ricotta because they explode in your mouth.”
“I like medium so there’s those there are bites of ricotta and every single bite and Keenan likes to have to have a bite without and then a big bite with a lot of ricotta. No right or wrong, just different opinions. Mine is obviously better- that’s all I’m going to say about that.”
Beyond pizzas, Dragon offers a variety of salads and an ever-changing selection of kebobs like Cajun Marinated Shrimp in sweet chili slaw, or mouth watering meatballs, or chicken asado with corn pepper salsa. And while they’re great served served on a stick, they’re even better consumed inside a slice.
“This is our answer to the sandwich of a traditional pizza shop. So were’ going to take a piece of pizza of your choice and this is the shrimp kabob. You put your kabob on there. And roll it up like this and then you just get after it.”
And if you have room, you definitely should get after one of Dragon’s housemade gelatos.
“We always order dessert with our dinner. And to do it in a in a slice shop. a scoop of gelato just seemed perfect. We spin it on a daily basis, we create recipes that have that unctuousness of flavor but also try and lighten it a little bit in the gelato form. And it’s delicious.”
And whether you get a slice, or several, you’ll leave with a smile- which makes these two guys VERY happy.
“We just love to cook. And we love food, we love making, making people happy with food.”