Review: Steak & Cheese Pizza from Papa John’s
When Papa John’s came out with a Steak & Cheese pizza a couple weeks ago, I was curious to see if it would live up to the excellent Dominos version that’s been around for years. Come to think of it, I’ve had a lot of great Philly Cheese Steak pizzas. The classic combination of steak, gooey cheese, onions and peppers is a natural fit because many of us use these ingredients as toppings anyway. That’s why I was surprised to see a couple of glaring topping exclusions on the Steak & Cheese Pizza from Papa John’s.Where are the onions and green peppers? Apparently, there aren’t any. According to Papa John’s &-laden description of their pizza:
Signature hand tossed crust covered with pizza sauce & creamy garlic Parmesan sauces, layered with marinated steak slices & 100% real cheese made from Mozzarella & Italian seasoning.
No onions and peppers. A reversal of the words “cheese” and “steak.” No “Philly” in the name. Parmesan sauce and Italian seasoning. This makes me wonder – is Papa John’s even trying for a Philly Cheese Steak taste? Maybe I saw “steak” and “cheese” in the title and immediately made the jump to the iconic sandwich, when in fact Papa John’s simply meant what they said: this is a pizza, with steak and cheese on it.
With this in mind, I went into this pizza without Philly Cheese Steak expectations. But even as a Pizza With Steak and Cheese On It, I would still call this a run-of-the-mill. By itself, the steak was savory, marinated and everything it professed to be, but on the pizza as a whole, while I caught the occasional nugget of chewy steak texture, I couldn’t taste the steak over the overwhelming mass of cheese. If all the ingredients on this pizza were at a party, the steak would be the person awkwardly standing by the wall, trying to blend in. The Italian seasoning was very present. It kind of clumped together into greasy-grainy flavor balls in places, but it awakened my taste buds in such a deliciously garlic way that I forgave it. The sauce and crust, as always, were good (although as a pizza sauce fiend, I would like to have seen more sauce).The Steak & Cheese Pizza from Papa John’s suffers from an identity crisis. Is this a Philly Cheese Steak pizza or not? I’m thinking probably not. But even as a pizza with steak and cheese on it, it’s just alright. Think of a pepperoni pizza, and the way the pepperoni pops with flavor. The steak on this pizza lacks that singularity, that distinct pizzazz that makes you think “Mmm, grilled steak.” If you were to give me this pizza blindfolded, I would tell you it’s a mediocre slice of generic pizza, with some sort of meat on it. At $11.75 for a large, this is still a decent value. But if you’re looking for a standout grilled steak taste, you might want to look elsewhere.
Pros: Good cheese. Tangy sauce. Chewy crust.
Cons: No distinct steak flavor. Too much cheese. Not enough sauce.
Overall GrubGrade: 5.75/10
More Info: http://www.PapaJohns.com
Small slice - 230 calories
Medium slice - 240 calories
Large slice - 340 calories