I finally got a chance to eat at Pizza Cucinova last night in Columbus. The restaurant in general is replica of 800degrees in Westwood CA. I call it Subway Subs style. Order your base or one of their regular pies and then move down to the toppings area and pick toppings, get your ticket, pay and get called when it is done. They even have their flour stacked up near the beginning of the order line like 800. Anyway, what a massive disapointment, maybe my expectations were set to high from 800 or Mozza since I did get to visit both this year. If I had to review it I would give it 1/2 star and that would be because the soda brought it up from 0 stars.
So here is how we started out, Saturday evening 6pm mid dinner rush, walked in and the place was half empty, I then saw the stacks of Caputo Pizzeria flour piled up and got petty excited, ordered our pies, did our thing, moved on down to the oven area where I stopped to watch for a while since I am a WFO guy, so the family said oh no, he is going into pizza geek mode and sat down. This is when I got really confused, I am looking in/at the ovens, I believe they were Woodstone with gas assist, the only problem the gas wasn't assisting anything, the gas was the only thing I saw, not an ember, ash, kindling or wood fire. To my amazement the ovens were soot free, ash free and wood free with absolutely no signs of wood burning anywhere at any time, now confusion really starts to kick in.
(Does Woodstone make an oven with the burn chamber not part of the actual cooking area?) There are two digital readout thermocouples mounted near the ovens each display had two readings, I couldn't tell if was upper/lower limit temps or maybe dome/hearth temps, anyway both ovens were reading ~670/550. My heart sank and I slinked over to our table anticipating what was to come. Now the pizzas, the crust was flavorless and dense with no cell structure, the bottoms were ghost white, no char, not even a golden baked spot on the bottom, the toppings were toppings so nothing stood out, but some of the larger lumps of cheese didn't even melt. The sauce was the bright point of the whole thing, it was good.
I don't want to bash Cucinova, every place can have a bad moment and maybe this was one of those times and I was collateral damage, but I still want to know where the wood fire was 'cause it wasn't in the oven.