Cane Rosso, a Dallas-based pizza chain, has opened two locations in Houston, the first coming to the Heights this past summer and the second coming to Montrose in late October. Given that the Montrose outpost is literally less than ten minutes away from campus, I decided to give it a try.
For those of you who haven’t been to a location in Dallas or Austin, I’ll give a brief description of its concept. Cane Rosso serves wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas in a special oven that the restaurant ships in from Italy. This requires a special technique: Each pizza is flash-cooked in the oven at a scalding temperature of 900 degrees for only 70 seconds.
Once the piping hot pizza arrives to your table, the server will explain that because the pie has a really thin crust on the bottom (not the edges though), it is meant to be eaten with a fork and knife. While my group initially tried this manner of eating, we ultimately decided that the plebeian method of eating with our hands would suffice.
While I have been describing Cane Rosso as a pizza joint, it actually has a broad menu that includes sandwiches and pastas. Some of the starters were also quite tempting, like the homemade burrata with crostini or deep-fried artichokes, but my group opted to order a few pizzas and save room for dessert instead.
There are 23 pizzas to choose from with a wide range of flavors that include different meats, cheeses and veggies. However, don’t expect to find the usual ham and pineapple pizza at this place. We decided to order the Luana, Prosciutto e Rucola and Che Cazzo. The Luana pizza comes with sausage, hot soppressata (described as pepperoni’s cool older brother), mushrooms, san marzano tomatoes and housemade mozzarella. The Prosciutto e Rucola is not a red sauce pizza but rather comes with prosciutto crudo, arugula with lemon dressing, housemade mozzarella, shaved parmesan cheese, garlic and olive oil. The Che Cazzo’s menu description is simply “trust your pizzaiolo … always spicy,” which intrigued us enough to order it.
The Luana and Che Cazzo ended up having the same toppings except for the Che Cazzo’s extra kick of red pepper flakes and Calabrian chilies that provided the perfect punch in every bite without being too spicy. All pizzas came with generous portions of toppings and a doughy rim of crust. The Prosciutto e Rucola pizza contrasted well with the other two pizzas due to its lack of sauce and light garnishes. We each ended up arguing that we chose the best of the bunch.
Unfortunately, after the delicious pizzas, the dessert was a disappointment. We were torn between the s’mores calzone and the Italian donuts, but we ultimately decided on the s’mores calzone, which was pizza dough stuffed with chocolate and marshmallows, topped with powdered sugar. While all of the components were tasty, the pizza dough was overwhelming. To put it simply, the dough was too doughy. If you’re in the mood for dessert, take a chance on one of the other menu items or go somewhere else.
Overall, Cane Rosso has a vibe closer to a casual Italian restaurant than neighborhood pizza place, with plenty of options to fit anyone’s preferences. Given that it is so close to campus, I would recommend this spot for a Saturday night outside of Rice Village.