Other location: McKinney
July 2014 update: Placing a Hold rating on Cavalli. Their pizza no longer has the slight crispness - it's too doughy and chewy. Mrs. RJG was very disappointed in our last revisit, which was about 18 months since our last visit. And she vowed not to return. I probably won't either unless convinced otherwise.
The RJG has been on an artisan pizza craze of late. We've written about some of them like the declining Campania, the always excellent Coal Vines, and the super INZO. We have a couple of others to talk about, but since we're on the RJG Restaurant week, here was our next lunch, with Mrs. RJG back in the fold after a day of deliberatin'.
Cavalli's is proud to claim that they are the first pizza place in DFW to be certified by the Verace Pizza Napoletana association. Campania also once held that designation, but have since fallen off this most sacred of pizza organizations. The RJG suspects they didn't want to pay the annual fees rather than being removed due to close inspection and a failed audit. All the same, Cavalli feels it's important to be certified by the VPN, and so we'll leave it at that. For what it's worth, the only other DFW pizzeria to obtain this certification is Il Cane Rosso in the Deep Ellum section of Dallas. We haven't been, but Mr. Music has recently tried it and reported back that it is indeed a must try place. So we for certain will embark on that journey at some point.
Certifications might give one bragging rights, but all we really care about is the flavor and texture of the pizza. To save you time of further reading, the answer is a profound YES. There is no harsher critic of pizza than Mrs. RJG, but she's already asking for the next return visit. The key to artisan pizza is the flavor and texture of the crust. And here Cavalli scores quite well. Now all isn't perfect, and I think the consistency of their crust doesn't quite penetrate the middle of the pie near as well as the outer portions. Mr. Music in fact had said on his one visit there was a puddle of grease in the middle. Obviously had we faced a similar fate, we wouldn't be recommending it. So it does appear great improvements have been made. But they have a little bit further to go. As for the ingredients, I tend to sample pizza with the most simple toppings as possible to ensure I'm evaluating it on a level playing field. So I tend to go with a Margherita (aka cheese pizza) with Italian sausage added. The sausage was very good, if not very distinctive. Mrs. RJG went with the Vegetarian, signaling to me that our future is inching closer to the crops than the ranch (sigh). On that same theme, I definitely recommend the side salad as well, with its excellent homemade vinagrette dressing.
Cavalli is located in NW Irving near Las Colinas, just south of 635 near Belt Line.
As it turns out, I was able to revisit the following week, as I met an old high school chum who now lives in Murphy. Seems like a good half-way point to me! We both tried the Texas Heat, where the heat part comes from jalapenos and Sopressata, which is a type of spicy salami. I thought the texture wasn't quite as crisp as our first visit, though I suspect that may have to due with the amount of ingredients. The more you pile on the top, I think the harder it is for them to gauge the crispness. They should account for this, but just a quick observation on two visits. I'm not deterred though, and this seems like the ideal meeting place for anyone I know who lives on the Dallas side of the house and would like to meet in the middle. And there are a few other pizzas I'd like to try from here. And word on the street says their panini's are fantastic as well. Besides Mrs. RJG wants to go again!
Oh, it's BYOB for those who like to bring their own jug of wine to the party.