Coming in with the other anticipated mid-season group of trucks mentioned in a previous review, Tru Pizza has hit the downtown Minneapolis streets to solid acclaim. It seems the business has quickly integrated itself quite well into the lineup, at least for this year, and is poised to become the first supporting column in our mobile pizza needs (true, there is another pizzeria on wheels in Minnesota’s list, but they rarely hit the streets outside of events and rare brewery visits).
They peaked my own curiosity quite a bit too; seeing it was based out of a completely enclosed truck, as opposed to many mobile pizza places using a trailer with noted attachment on the end for their brick-oven, I very much wanted to know what appliance and system they used for their pie cookery. What an intriguing shock I got, then, when I noticed the front half of their already-small working space was crammed with yet a giant domed pizza oven, typical in style to the traditional brick oven. “How they get it in there?” my first thought read… only to be solved on my realization it is NOT a brick oven, but made of pure steel, so disassembly must be possible; I do believe it is still wood fired though, leaving a great and hot cooking source for the Neapolitan fare.
As for the fair itself, I guess I don’t need to state that Pizza is indeed the specialty; in particular, crust and toppings keep more to the Mediterranean trends favored nowadays, with crusty raised dough. Leaning towards light red and white sauces, delicate use of toppings, and ingredients like Buratta and Fennel Sausage, Tru is reminiscent of some of our favorite quality pizza places that have come into focus the past decade.
As for options, they of course start off with a classic Margherita (for those still unaware, simple pizza of fresh tomato, mozzarella, and basil), regular or a “Wet” option that uses Buratta (basically mozzarella cheese that is wrapped in a ball around very moist and wet curd, super delicious and delicate). Pre-set pizzas include something called “Killer” that uses pepperoni and crimini mushrooms, as well as a Highway Man that has the same meat, fennel sausage, basil and pepperocini peppers. White Pizza’s (using simply olive oil and basil) focus on ingredients like Prosciutto, Arugula, Kalamata Olives, Feta, Sun-Dried Tomatos, Kale, and fresh Garlic. One of course has customization options.
There is of course no good pizza place without an option for bread on the side, Tru taking this to offer a more affordable ‘Flatbread’ option. On my visit it was listed as ‘Lardo,’ a special guy that’s brushed with rendered pork fat with herbs and pecorino. Whether this is to be a constant option or they change it is unsure, but it sounds nummy to me.
Trying to find a single pizza that would allow me to get a full experience of their style and the quality of various toppings used, I ordered the MRE, coming with a mix of Fennel Sausage, Crimini, Wood-roasted Onions, and Fresh Basil. I also substituted to the Buratta Mozzarella to see how it comes out.
Which, sadly, didn’t shine as much as I wanted what with the other flavors coming into play, especially with little was on the pie; that said, it still offered a very fresh, clean, great cheese on the tomato sauce, still way better than factory shredded crap, I just doubt one could differentiate it from the fresh Mozzarella that much. As for the other main components, the sauce was bright and fresh, good tomato flavor without that heaviness derived from thick paste and overly stewing. Dough was nicely thin, great charring from the oven, with a good chew texture for most of it, though I felt the slightly thicker ends a bit chewier than my taste. But to be fair Punch Pizza’s is a bit tougher still, so overall they seem to have a good and acceptable recipe.
I love the fennel sausage, the charred and soft onions, and some nicely roasted mushrooms. The ingredients have a good level of quality and creation, and come together with the other base factors to create one of the typically ideal wood oven cooked pizzas. The one thing that stands out for me, and this somewhat ties into price, is the amount of these toppings seem a bit scant, even for the style. I wish there was a bit more on there.
Well, it is pizza, though it’s at a small enough size with light toppings that it could allow for easy consuming without having to find stable seating. However, the dough wasn’t cut through all that cleanly, requiring effort to separate the hot pieces without a mess taking place; basically, it became a much harder experience to eat while walking.
The three most affordable pizzas are $7, $8,and $9, with the rest hanging between $10 and $11; note these are all good sized lunches, but not the ‘sharing is probably best’ behemoths from a certain other pizza truck. There are options for additions and burrata cheese switch-outs at charge, but I rarely see a particular need to do any of them. Of final and particular note, the Lardo Flatbread comes in at a very cost-effective $5, a tempting offer for future visits in my book.
A little longer than average, though that’s somewhat expected considering what’s being cooked (though if I remember correctly, certain proper brick oven can cook a pizza pretty damn fast when done right).
The TOE: 8.5
I’m gonna give them a couple extra points here than I did Little G’s, since they have the same qualities at this point, but I feel a bit more cohesion and identity, plus lack of boring cliché of just having brownie and cookie options on the side; menu and food feels somewhat similar to actual brick-oven pizza restaurants I’ve been to. Not to mention bonus on the use of pork fat in the flatbread (aka breadstick substitute); I am debating whether or not it might actually reach TOE Ring status, but I’d need to try it first (damn my skinny wallet nowadays).
If you enjoy and/or desire pizza in the style of Black Sheep and Punch, but don’t feel like going through the whole restaurant thing for lunch in Minneapolis, then Tru Pizza is an ideal stop. Also a strong possibility when looking for a filling yet delicious option at very low prices, the Lardo Flatbread is great for those who don’t mind a carb-loaded meal.
Those options I feel worth going after, at least on your first visit, are highly limited; they only put a bare amount of extra toppings on in my opinion, and then the charge for extra meat starts adding up. As such, I say grab one of the Margherita’s to enjoy the pure and simple fresh, juicy qualities of the basic pizza ingredients. If one HAS to have meat, I might suggest ignoring some of the other options and just add Fennel Sausage to the basic margherita; it’s easily gonna be a better experience than the pepperoni, and costs the same as the Killer. Speaking of which, I would also completely ignore any thoughts of substituting the Buratta; it’ll only really shine well on the Margherita, other toppings easily covering up the subtle qualities that make it amazing.
Something then tells me that the White Sauce based options probably don’t share the highlight, but the Santorini and Health menu items draw my eyes for those who desire a full, vegetarian-friendly lunch without doing the ‘boring’ tomato-mozzarella option (I’m sure there are some who may be sick of it by now). It’ll just cost more.