Don't let the name fool you, Philly's Best is located on the Avenue in Hampden. Philly's Best offers the usual pizza and sandwich options of normal carry out pizza joints, with the twist that it also serves Indian take out. We went there with a very specific pizza goal in mind, we were there to eat the Taj Mahal. We had been hearing rumors about an Indian food pizza that was off menu, now it is out in the open for the world to try. We ordered this pizza knowing nothing about it, except that it was exotic and therefore fascinating. There was an air of mystery as we sat in the car wondering what was inside the pizza box. We assumed that this was a vegetarian friendly pizza, but there were no clues either way. As we were staring at the box, we speculated that it contained the exotic, spicy mysteries of the Orient.
The anxiety and expectation were building, would this be a pizza like none we had encountered before? As we lifted the lid we saw the familiar markers of what we recognize as pizza. There was sauce and cheese, but the difference was indeed mysterious. It was like Palak Paneer, yet different and on a pizza. The crust was decent and nicely supported the toppings. It was crunchy, but not overdone. It was spicy, but not overwhelming. The slices are large and sauce and cheese had even coverage. There was still tomato sauce as a base, but on top of that there was spinach and vegetables, which might have been onions and broccoli.
After the initial strangeness faded into warm familiarity, we then voyaged into a discussion about the Taj Mahal and the Flavors of India. Was this a melding of America and India or was one more prominent? We debated if the cheese on the pizza was paneer or mozzarella, with the dominant taste being the latter. We would have liked to have seen actual cubes of paneer on the pizza to give it a more distinct flavor. For example, our friend Matt who arrived late to the game, bit into a slice and asked if it was pesto. While Laura, with her more discerning palate called it as Indian. This demonstrated it was a subtle, as opposed to a more pronounced Indian flavor as the unaware could be taken by surprise.
Matt stated that "I gotta give it props because there were flavors that weren't the things I thought they would be".
Overall, we decided that it was pretty high grade takeout and a nice change in your takeout pizza routine, but we would have preferred more adventurousness on their part.
1101 W. 36th St
Baltimore, MD 21211