222 Newbury Street
Boston, MA 02116
I’ve always thought that pizza was just pizza. And I know, as an aspiring food critic I shouldn’t say that, I should be more respectful of the intricate tasteful delicacies that go into making top quality pizzas, but I can’t help it. It’s pizza. Try as I might, eating pizza just brings me back to all those middle school sleepovers, all those nights my parents were too exhausted after work to cook “real food” and gave in as my sister and I shared a silent “thank you” to the gods.
Yet there I was, sitting at the Dirty Water Dough Company, at a tiny table in a glass terrace perched gracefully over Newbury Street, watching the sun slowly set over ambling passerbys and winding down shops, waiting for my pizza, of all things.
Tara and I had ordered a large, and unable to pick just one of the many Dough Water specialties, we decided to hedge our bets and “quarter” it to try the Pollo Alfredo, the New Haven, the Burgah Bomb, and the Hulk. The service had been friendly from the start, and after ordering we made our way down the narrow, cramped café to wait at this table in the sun.
It took a little while, almost twenty minutes, for it to arrive, although at least we knew they hadn’t simply heated up leftovers. The first thing that struck me was the size of each piece – they were huge, with thick, doughy crusts and piled toppings. The almost $30 price tag began to make a little more sense. I started off with a piece of the Burgah Bomb, easily the flashiest of our four flavors. Chunks of marinated ground beef and layers of cheddar and mozzarella, were sprinkled with fresh, crunchy lettuce, tomatoes, and onions, and drizzled with ketchup and mustard, creating a piece of pizza that both looked and tasted remarkably like a cheeseburger. It was a little greasy, a little heavy, but most importantly it was tasty, and I was impressed both by the creativity of the presentation and the execution of the ingredients.
Unfortunately, it just went downhill from that first piece. I moved on to the Hulk, a pesto based pizza with rich mozzarella, hunks of goat cheese, and sliced tomatoes. Much like the Burgah Bomb, this one was a little greasy and a little heavy, except this time without the whole cheeseburger excuse. No this should have been a light, flavorful piece just understated enough to let the freshness and the quality of the ingredients speak out. Instead, I was overwhelmed. Too much oil, too much cheese, too much effort.
To be honest, I was starting to get a little full by this point, weighed down by the size and heaviness of my first two pieces. I soldiered on though, reaching for a slice of the New Haven, a seafood pizza full of garlic, clams, diced tomatoes, basil and oregano. Perhaps I was too full, perhaps it was already lukewarm by this time, but it just tasted flat to me. The toppings clashed, the texture was that of an amateur jester juggling the crunch of the crust, the chewiness of the clam, and the slick softness of the cheese and herbs, and they just seemed to fall to the floor in a scatter of brightly colored balls and failure. I couldn’t finish it.
By this time Newbury Street was covered in darkness, and I left Dirty Water feeling like I had paid way too much and waited far too long, and that perhaps, I’ve always been right. Pizza’s just pizza. 5.5/10
It sounds disgusting. I was met with the same scrunched-up, sickened face every time I mentioned to someone that I was reviewing this place next. The store’s aesthetics are trendy and in-style – certainly not the average hole-in-the-wall pizza place. Pizza can be bought by the slice or by the whole, and the large pizzas can be split into four different types, which is exactly what Danny and I did. After calculating the area of a 12” pizza, and then an 18” pizza, Danny concluded that buying one 18” pizza would be more worthwhile than two 12” pizzas.
Instead of calling its pizza establishment, “Dirty Water Dough Co,” the place should have just named it, “Oily Oily Dough Co.” The combinations of flavors on the different types of pizzas were delicious and unique, but it couldn’t make up for the puddles of oil on the cheese. I went through so many napkins in my attempts to clear them up. From the typewriter typography of the restaurant sign, to the bold hand-painted walls, the atmosphere of the place made me want to love this pizzeria, but I just couldn’t. Even the crust, though exceptionally thin, was on the burnt side.
I guess I should mention the different types of pizza we ordered, which were the only positive aspects of the pizza that night. It was divided into four types, the New Haven (clams, garlic, basil, and tomatoes), Burgah Bomb (beef, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, ketchup, and mustard), the Hulk (pesto, mozzarella, goat cheese, and tomatoes), and Pollo Alfredo (alfredo, chicken, mozzarella, and broccoli). For all of the pizza types, the flavors were there as promised, but they still didn’t make up for the greasiness and burnt crust. If you do decide to give the Dirty Water Dough a try, I’d go for the New Haven, which put an interesting twist on pizza with the clams and basil. 5/10