Fed Man 55: House Pizzeria (48)

 
 
Mike Sutter’s Top 55 Austin Restaurants
 
No. 48: House Pizzeria
5111 Airport Blvd. 512-600-4999, www.housepizzeria.com.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Closed Monday.
 
By Mike Sutter | Fed Man Walking | 08.30.12
 
House Pizzeria smells like victory. A victory party, more specifically, the kind we threw after junior high football games whether we won or lost. Always at the Pizza Inn, with the smell of baked bread and garlic in the air and ZZ Top on the jukebox. House Pizzeria is like that, with better pizza and Nina Simone, because we won’t settle for cardboard crust and “Tush” anymore, not in Dallas Texas, not in Hollywood and not in Austin. Now we expect performance from both the jukebox and a baseline pie like House’s Margherita ($9), with the twang of crushed tomato, good mozzarella and fresh basil leaves on a bubbled Neapolitan-style crust with a toasted crunch and the long pull of fortified dough. Or a bar snack of oven-roasted olives with fat cloves of garlic and crusty bread ($4.75).
 
A cool green bottle of Mexican Coke or a Saint Arnold root beer on draft satisfies the Instagram version of this pizza party throwback, but the thoroughly modern me appreciates draft beer from Real Ale and Live Oak, the floral roast of (512) Pecan Porter and the summertime double-team of Circle’s wheat IPA.
 
 
The pizza menu is as tightly curated as the tap wall, a study in depth without distraction: nine pies plus a few specials. There’s a workable sausage-and-mushroom ($13), but I like the bravery of House’s Subterranean pie ($10), with an earthy backbone of rosemary potato slices gone just crispy at the edges, cradled in the sweetness of caramelized onion with fontina cheese and mushroom. There’s pepperoni ($9), but  count me in for a pizza with salami, cheddar and onions ($10) and especially for the Blue: mozzarella with a high and whiny vein of Stilton blue cheese tempered by a sweet port-wine sauce ($10), a pie for grown-up victory parties, win or lose.
 
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)
 
Mike Sutter’s Fed Man 55: Austin’s Best Restaurants