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The restaurant we originally wanted to go to was closed for some reason so we settled on Punch because we had never been and Daren hadn't been in a long time. We drove the long 7 minutes back to Daren's hometown of Wayzata and pulled into the Punch lot.
As we were walking in we noticed a huge pile of wood by the door and when we entered the restaurant it all made sense. In the back of the counter area stood a huge wood fired oven heated to 700 degrees. Right then and there we knew this would be an intriguing pizza eating experience.
Punch is a personal sized pizza place, something we weren't aware of before walking in, so the daunting task of picking something began. For Mark, its easy but I like to carefully examine every option so I don't miss something that could be special. But as the place was getting busier and I was the last to order I became flustered and just went with the trustworthy margherita pizza. However, I did have a coupon for a free upgrade to their buffalo mozzarella which both Mark and I took advantage of.
After we had all ordered we headed outside to sit on the patio and not 3 minutes later our pizza arrived. Yeah. Remember that 700 degree wood fired oven I mentioned? It cooks the pizza in 90 seconds flat. Talk about a fast food pizza joint.
Like I said, I ordered the margherita pizza with the buffalo mozzarella (one with the knife on the plate in the picture). It came with a nice hollow crust, crushed tomato sauce, globs of cheese, and whole basil leaves. It was a thing of beauty, almost too pretty to eat.... almost. And when I bit in it was heaven. Everything came together perfectly, although I really couldn't taste the difference between the cow mozzarella and the buffalo mozzarella. Maybe my tastes just aren't sophisticated enough. Regardless, the pizza was seriously delicious.
Mark ordered the bruni with the buffalo mozzarella (one across from mine). The bruni came with sausage, spiced salami, onions, and oregano on top of the crushed tomatoes and cheese. And when they say "spiced" salami they must mean it, because Mark definitely noticed the kick. He also couldn't tell the difference between the two cheeses, but thoroughly enjoyed his pizza just the same.
Out of the four pizzas that were ordered I was the only one with leftovers, and it was just a slice at that! But this gave Mark a chance to give Punch leftovers the test when we had the slice for lunch the next day. I'm happy to report that he gave it his leftovers stamp of approval.
As for our rating of Punch:
1. Crust: 8 - Crispy, hollow thin crust with a soggy, gooey bottom. It might not sound appealing, but it was delicious.
2. Sauce: 7 - Mark thought the crushed tomato sauce was too basic; I, however, disagree.
3. Toppings: 9 - Damn good, fresh ingredients.
Overall we give it an 8.5 because even though going with friends helped the experience, the food left us wanting more and more.