Review: Protos Pizzeria Napoletana
Ah pizza! We Americans love the stuff. It puts smiles on faces 2-years old to 90-years. And it doesn’t seem to matter if it’s mediocre pizza or really fantastic pizza, we all seem to love it. So it’s no wonder that most pizza being sold out there ranges from mediocre to good at best. But every now and then somebody makes the decision to take the time to do it right. Every now and then somebody decides to make their own dough rather than use frozen pre-made, to make their own sauce with fresh tomatoes rather than use purchased canned sauce; to use fresh mozzarella instead of low-quality pre-shredded, and believes that each pizza is a work of art rather than a mass production product. Every now and then we discover a pizzeria like Proto’s.
Proto’s Pizzeria Downtown Boise
Proto’s is located in downtown Boise in the Grove right next to P.F. Chang’s. I’ve eaten there many times, and each time I’ve been impressed with the experience. But what I didn’t know is that Proto’s started out in Colorado by a Bostonian named Pam Proto. Pam was hungry for the traditional thin crusted high-heat baked pizzas from the East Coast but couldn’t find them anywhere in Colorado. That hunger turned into a craving, the craving into an obsession, the obsession into the birth of Proto’s pizzeria in the Denver area. 7-years later, Boise was the 5th Proto’s opening, and has stood as a thin-crust winner ever since. With 6 successful locations, Proto’s must be doing something right, but what is it?
Proto’s High Quality House Made Everything
Proto’s does everything in-house. They make their own dough and toss it by hand. They make their own pizza sauce from high-quality canned and fresh tomatoes, then spread it out on the crust with a ladle in perfect circular spirals. They use extra virgin olive oil instead of more common less expensive canola oil. They use fresh mozzarella cheese, packed in water, rather than cheap shredded cheese. They use fresh herbs, high quality meats, and everything else nice in this pizza world. They hire employees that care about the product, who gingerly place each pie in the hot brick gas-flamed oven. The result? Perfect exceptional pizza every time.
Proto’s menu is dedicated to deliciousness. And I must say, they do not disappoint. Their house-made tomato sauce is exceptional, and they know it. In fact, about 6 of their 18 pies are nearly exclusively comprised of crust and sauce…..cheese and toppings merely being a side note. I’ve enjoyed their Margherita, Atomica, Pontiff, Roman, Proto, Goombah, and Traffic Jam. Each had a bubbly crust that was perfectly charred on the bottom, and a combination of high-quality varying toppings blended together as if by a master. As such, the menu kindly requests that substitutions not be made, which I totally get. But on my last visit, we made a request to replace the green peppers with black olives, and Proto’s politely obliged.
Proto’s Traffic Jam Pizza
Proto’s crust was crisp with a soft chew. The tomato sauce was savory with just a hint of sweetness and great clean tomato and herb flavor. The cheese was delicious and clean. The pepperoni wasn’t greasy at all and had a fantastic flavor. The sausage was clearly a high quality Italian artisan variety. And the meatballs were well seasoned, non fatty, and had a clean non-processed flavor. This pizza was a pure joy to eat, and didn’t leave us feeling bloated and disgusting like low-quality grease-pit pizza’s do. Just good clean deliciousness at Proto’s.
My only wish of change at Proto’s would be the use of added wood in their oven. The additional of subtle wood smoke flavor would take this pizza from amazing to mouthgasm good. But either way, I’m a fan of Proto’s Pizzeria Napoletana.
The Bald Gourmet highly recommends Proto’s Pizzeria Napoletana.