Thank you so much for the responses! I didnít think anyone would respond since I'm so long-winded.
So last night at 2 in the morning I decided to make a pizza, in a different way than I had before.
-I made the crust super-thin, as thin as I could, like 1.5mm.
-I made a very simple uncooked sauce with ONLY tomato paste, dried & fresh basil, and salt - not muddying it with lots of herbs, oil, garlic etc.
-I used Sargento Whole Milk Mozz & Provolone blend, then I sprinkled about a tablespoon of powder-ground romano over the top of the mozz before baking.
Well this pizza was pretty good! It was actually fairly close to replicating the pizza that I am aiming for. The cheese was very flavorful but not gamey (like it was when I used 50% romano), and the harmony of basil & aged cheese was nearly perfect, very similar to the pizza Iím trying to copy. Iím so close. I understand now that just a tiny bit of romano is needed to give a boost in flavor. I also understand that a mishmash of spices like oregano, garlic, thyme, etc. is NOT a part of this pizza. Itís all about the basil - and ONLY basil. And grinding the pre-grated romano also helped bring out the flavor I think by exposing the fragrant interior of the grated romano needles.
Anyway, just wanted to share.
WarEagle: The pizza joint is just a single location, mom & pop pizza place in my city. I donít really want to name it because then my post could come up in a google search of the name, and the owners would get even more paranoid if they see my post. lol
About the cheese, itís always completely dry, not watery at all. Even the toppings never leave any moisture on top. But Iíve noticed that their cheese is very white & has an oily sheen to it when itís fresh out of the oven, I wonder if they oil the cheese or if itís just the brand of mozz that they use that gives it that glisten.
Thanks for the tips, Iím certainly not done sleuthing. The next time I eat there I will definitely get out of my seat and skulk around by the kitchen a bit. I should try chatting with the chefs through the kitchen doorÖAnd I still might dumpster dive too - Iím fantasizing about stumbling onto the ďkitchen trash bagĒ which has package wrappers for their cheeses, their tomatoesÖeverything. That kitchen trash bag would be an amazing coup.
Mkevenson: Thatís a good idea about discovering their supplier. That would certainly narrow the search down a lot. As for being able to isolate each component, I do always get a side of their pizza sauce in a little container each time I go there. I tell them itís for dipping the pizza, but really I just use it for reference purposes, to analyze. Ha! Their sauce seems a more bright red than the sauces that I make with tomato paste. I wonder whyÖ
Tscarborough: Yes, the crust is definitely docked. Toward the rim, their crust is slightly crisp, but near the center itís quite bendy.
Thanks again, everybody.
If anyone has any more insight or advice, please chime in.