TOP 2010: Round 2: Saratoga

TOP2010 RD2 saratoga

We're back to Saratoga for the first matchup in Round 2 of the Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Sunmark Federal Credit Union. The pizzerias facing off in this round of sausage pizzas:

Nunzio's vs. Cusato's

First, how we got here: Cusato's beat fellow Clifton Parker Antipasto's 22-15 and Nunzio's topped Pope's 63-52.

You gotta figure Nunzio's is the favorite here -- it took second in the whole tournament last year, it scored reasonably well in the first round and Cusato's stumbled. But throw out the reputations! It's all about the pizza on the plate.

We head back to the lovely Spring Street Gallery for the tasting...

sunmark pizza banner

TOP2010 RD2 saratoga judging

A quick note about how all this works: The four judges -- Renee, Albany Jane, Joe and Daniel B -- taste the pizza blind. That is, they don't know which pizza they're tasting during judging. They taste the competitors side by side. The scoring is on a 100 point scale -- each judge represents a quarter of those possible points.

Nunzio's vs. Cusato's

Nunzio's Cusato's
Crust 13 4
Sauce 12 6
Toppings 14 4
Overall taste 26 11
Totals 65 25

Post game

And there would be no upset. Nunzio's put up solid, if unspectacular, scores in every category. The judges praised Nunzio's crust for being cooked more than the first round pie -- they described the crust as "chewy." The Saratoga shop's sauce was "bright." The judges applauded Nunzio's rough chunks of sausage for their fennel and spice -- though they said they would have liked more of it.

Cusato's scored better in this round than the first. A few of the judges did describe the Clifton Park shop's slice as "meaty," but it just didn't show up overall. We all have a string of bad luck. It happens. And unfortunately for this shop, it came in the TOP.

Up next

Nunzio's wins the Saratoga bracket again and advances to the semi-finals, where it will face the winner of the Troy bracket. It might have to step up its game to make it to the finals, though.

Tomorrow: the Tournament of Pizza heads back to Schenectady.

Special thanks again to the Spring Street Gallery, which graciously provided us with space to taste pizza.

+ Steve's picks for Round 2
+ Results from Round 1 in the Albany bracket
+ Results from Round 1 in the Troy bracket
+ Results from Round 1 in the Schenectady bracket
+ Results from Round 1 in the Saratoga bracket

The 2010 Tournament of Pizza is sponsored by Sunmark Federal Credit Union, which now offers banking from mobile devices. They even have an app for iPhones and Android phones.


Nunzio's visibly looks superior.

Damn I'm jealous of these judges...

I found these two statements to be hard to reconcile:

"they don't know which pizza they're tasting during judging"

And later:

"The judges praised Nunzio's crust for being cooked more than the first round pie"

If they didn't know which pie they were judging how could they know one was cooked better than in the first round?

@BobF: They don't know the name of the pizzerias in front of them, but they do know "the letter." That is, the pizzerias are assigned letters (A, B, C, D) so that we can keep the pizzas straight and so they have a way of talking about the slices (example: I like Pizza A more than Pizza B because the crust is crunchier.) Also, we know which pizzas are which. So if they comment on a shop's first pie being underdone, but then praise its second for being cooked well, we can draw the comparison.

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