Pop-Up vs. Radio City

On top of everything else going on Downtown, the pizza scene seems to be strong as well. Pop-Up Pizza, a counter inside the Plaza (1 Main St., 366-0049), may not look like much, but the pizza is terrific—thin-crusted, generously topped and creative. It’s similar to what is served at the “secret pizzeria” joint at the Cosmo (which is not so secret anymore).

Order from the cashier, either choosing slices from about eight pies already cooked, New York-style, or an entire pie that will be made to order in about 15 minutes. If you choose to eat in, there are several tables facing a bank of slot machines on the casino floor. It’s not exactly conducive to a romantic evening, but the pizzas are magic.

I actually ate in and took out. First, I had a slice of the Harris Meatball Pie, a terrific pizza topped with chunks of Italian-style meatballs, caramelized onion and olives, and then I tried the White Chapel, a white pie that lives on roasted garlic and spinach. Both were state-of-the-art. You can build your own pies, starting at $15 for your basic tomato and cheese, and adding toppings for $2 each.

While I dined, my 18-inch Fremont pizza ($24) was cooking, a meat-lovers pie topped with a special pepperoni from Chicago, Italian sausage, bacon, roasted red pepper and hunks of eggplant. It arrived home still piping hot, where it was promptly devoured.

But if you’d prefer to eat your pizza in a more conventional restaurant environment, there is Radio City Pizza (508 Fremont St., 982-5055) in the thick of the Fremont East entertainment zone. It’s a proper sit-down restaurant with large booths and table service. The servers are friendly, but not what I’d call super organized.

We ordered a pizza called Viva Las Vegas, for instance, essentially a white pizza topped with lots of goodies, such as roasted garlic, ricotta, red onions, pepperoncini and the Italian cold-cut soppressata, and it arrived without the meat. When I informed a server that the kitchen had left it off, he brought us the cold meat on a side plate. (A manager later took the pizza off our check.)

We also sampled a pizza with a surprisingly tasty gluten-free crust. The house meatballs, which can and should be ordered a la carte, are light and fluffy. And there is also a rather drab Caesar salad, if you’re into that sort of thing.

These are, by the way, medium-thick pizzas starting at $15 for an 18-inch pie and going up from there, depending on the toppings, $1.50 a pop.

This place also serves pastas and desserts, such as rich cannoli studded with bits of chocolate, or yeasty zeppoli, sort of an Italian doughnut.

Hungry, yet?

Follow Max Jacobson’s latest epicurean observations, reviews and tips at VegasSeven.com/Blogs.

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