Sam’s Pizzeria & Cafe vs. Mimmo’s Pizza

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At long last we’ve arrived at the Northampton semi-finals, and what a fun ride it has been so far!  Up on the chopping block today is our wildcard Mimmo’s and Sam’s Pizzeria, both in the heart of downtown Northampton.  Mimmo’s has won two rounds already to get here, beating both Roberto’s and Hungry Ghost Bread and definitely exceeding our expectations, to prove itself as one of the go-to pizza joints in Noho.  Sam’s, being the number 3 seed starting off, has had a much easier ride, so far only going up against and beating Big Y.  What Mimmo’s mostly has going for it is its wonderful crust, whereas Sams’ crust was not an instant hit with all of us the one time we saw it, so it’s going to be an interesting challenge.

Here are the standings so far.

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Sam’s Pizzeria & Cafe

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Representing downtown Noho!

 

Mimmo’s Pizza

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Reminds you of the old country

 

The Pizza

I knew I was going to regret it, and I did regret it, but I decided to go with eggplant pizzas again.  While I love eggplant pizza (especially breaded and fried), the last time we did it the shops treated the eggplant so differently that it was almost hard to compare pizzas.  I thought that might have been a fluke so I tried again and to my dismay Mimmo’s and Sam’s treat their eggplant pizzas even more differently than Pizza Amore and Pinocchio’s did.  So this will probably be the last time we do eggplant, but I have to admit, I do love me some eggplant pizza.

Mimmos on the left, Sam's on the right

Mimmos on the left, Sam’s on the right

 

Aesthetically speaking, the Sam’s pizza is really fun to look at.  You can tell they took great care in how they arranged the toppings.  And while we don’t have a looks category, the Sam’s pizza would win hands down if we did!  On the more negative side, I ordered a simple eggplant pizza but they gave us something called “eggplant parm” instead which includes ricotta cheese and extra dollops of sauce.  And while I do appreciate the extras, I prefer getting what I ordered.  Now, on to the meat and potatoes of this review.

 

The Crust

Mimmo’s was having an off day and apparently some people called out of work, leaving one poor soul to do everything.  With that said, the crust was as chewy and light as we’ve come to expect, with seasoning just right.  I’ve found them to have excellent consistency with their cook times, every pizza seems to come out cooked just right.

The Sam’s crust was a little more troubled.  It seemed to leave a bit of a dry taste in the mouth and was denser, maybe even a little chalky tasting, and just didn’t have the chew we were looking for.  Looking back at the last time we had Sam’s the crust looked a little lighter then.  I wonder if the pizza was just a tad overcooked this time around?  It’s hard to say, but the crust just wasn’t quite where it needed to be.

Winner: Mimmo’s Pizza

Mimmo's Pizza Category Sam's Pizzeria
   Crust

The Toppings

OK here is where the things left the rails for me.  When I bit into Sams’ eggplant parm pizza my taste buds were in heaven.  Seriously I really do love breaded and fried eggplant.  And, like Pinocchio’s before them, they do their eggplant justice.  The eggplant on the Mimmo’s pizza, however, might as well not have existed.  It was sparse, crunchy, and thin, and didn’t really add anything of value to the pizza.  We weren’t all smitten by the toppings on the Sam’s pizza though, some were overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of the toppings and were turned off by the breaded/fried texture of the eggplant.

Winner: Sam’s Pizzeria & Cafe

Mimmo's Pizza Category Sam's Pizzeria
Toppings

 

The Flavor

There were some mixed feelings determining best flavor and it ended up being a toss-up. I found it hard to differentiate flavor from toppings this time around.  And in the end it came down to preference.

Winner: Tie

Mimmo's Pizza Category Sam's Pizzeria
  Flavor

 

Final Thoughts

We’ve now found ourselves in a tiebreaker situation!  Our rules dictate that if we’re tied on categories, then the winner is the one with more total votes.  In this case the winner is Mimmo’s Pizza with a vote count of 7 to 5!

OK so let’s talk about this one a little.  After doing this twice it is now clear to me that there isn’t a middle ground with eggplant.  Either you can do it or you can’t.  And if you want good eggplant pizza in Northampton then you want to go with either Sam’s or Pizza Amore, no question about it (there are probably more good ones, though I haven’t tried them yet).  Unfortunately we can’t just stop at the toppings, since our job is to compare the whole pizza.  In this case, the crust on the Mimmo’s pie clearly outshone the Sam’s crust.  And you might be thinking that crust isn’t that big a deal, especially when the toppings are great, but let me tell you, crust makes a huge difference (at least to us).  The flavor of the two pies wasn’t all that different, so in the end the crust ended up being the tiebreaker.

We have our first Northampton finalist, Mimmo’s Pizza!

Mimmo's Pizza Category Sam's Pizzeria
   Crust
Toppings
  Toppings

Winner: Mimmo’s Pizza

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