For the quick lunch crowd, this week's food fight takes on pizza by the slice. Read on to find out whether Broders' or Cosetta won us over, in a competition where the only thing greasing the judge's palms was the pepperoni.
Cossetta Italian Market & Pizzeria is a boisterous cafeteria-style restaurant: a big space serving big portions, easily accomodating large groups and large appetites.
We grabbed a slab, er, slice of the day's specialty pizza -- topped with raw green pepper, pepperoni and sauteed mushroom -- for $4.29 before tax. The slice filled a paper plate before it filled our stomachs, leaving only a faint slick of grease behind. The toppings were plentiful, if unremarkable: it's a tried-and-true combination of flavors.
As a spot that caters to sports fan and science museum visitors, Cossetta does the trick: diners can get in and out in a matter of minutes, free to enjoy their downtown entertainment without paying the prices demanded at stadium concession stands or the museum cafeteria.
Broders' Cucina Italiana in south Minneapolis is a small storefront with seating for maybe 20 people. The specialty pizza the day we stopped in was topped with roasted eggplant, red pepper, carmelized onions and goat cheese for $3.50 before tax. Broders' pizza was a plate-filler just like Cosetta's, but on a much smaller plate. And what the pizza lacked in size it made up for in flavor. The roasted eggplant and carmelized onions made the pizza almost sweet, reminding me of a fresh ricotta and red onion pizza recipe from Smitten Kitchen that has the same mouth-watering effect.
The winner: In this match-up, we're going for the little guy. If you're already in St. Paul looking to fill up quick, by all means, stop by Cosetta. It offers up the trinity of conventional American dining: big, cheap, and fast. But if you're more interested in savoring a slice, Broders' is the place to get it. Its smaller scale means more interesting ingredients prepared with more care, like the carmelized onions and roasted eggplant.