Mark Twain’s Pizza Landing
WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
In one way, Mark Twain’s is a blast from the past, reminding me of the pizza parlors we used to have when pizza was just beginning to be popular. It’s an old storefront that could use some renovation, with a wide-open kitchen and a juke box full of superannuated (but highly listenable) records. The menu, however, is much more modern, and would be just right in a brand-new pizzeria. The pizzas are made in the old-fashioned way, the crusts a bit more pillowy than New York pizzas, and loaded with thicker layers of toppings. A surprisingly good part of the menu here is the sandwich department. These are baked to toastiness after being made.
Creole Pizza–Not only good, but the sort of thing that sets this place apart. A bunch of aggressively local ingredients brought together successfully.
Sauteed shrimp poor boy–This goes back to the earliest days of the place, when the original owner had a few dishes that could have come from a gourmet bistro. A great idea I’ve never seen anywhere else.
Dan Greenbaum–who came from an Uptown bistro (I forget which one) opened Mark Twain’s in 1985. The unique menu was there from the outset, along with the references to Twain’s novels. Pizza had not yet been invented when Mark Twain was writing, but when Greenbaum opened he found a manniken of the writer and had a display window the perfect size for it. It worked in terms of making the place memorable.
A long room with an open kitchen at the rear, often full on weekends. Owner Jaques Broussard is constantly moving around, touching base with all the customers.
Bread sticks with marinara
Becky Thatcher (pasta salad, shrimp, olives, mushrooms)
»Aunt Polly (iceberg, plum tomatoes, cucumbers, Genoa salami)
Mark Twain (iceberg, red onions, olive salad, mozzarella, pepperoncini)
Made to order, plus these house specialties:
»The Mysterious Stranger (spinach, feta,
»Creole pizza (shrimp, andouille, crabmeat)
Huck Finn (mushrooms, peppers, onions, black olives)
»Life on the Mississippi (pepperoni, Canadian bacon, sausage, mushrooms, anchovies)
»Innocents Abroad (salami, Italian sausage, tomatoes, artichokes, fresh basil)
Danno (Canadian bacon, bell peppers, pineapple)
Deluxe (pepperoni, Canadian bacon, mushrooms, peppers, onions, extra cheese)
»Roast beef poor boy
Ham and cheese poor boy
»Sauteed shrimp poor boy
»Andouille sausage, onions and peppers poor boy
Smoked turkey poor boy
»New York cheesecake
FOR BEST RESULTS
The unique combinations here are not merely offbeat, but the best pizzas in the house. Don’t get your heart set on a sandwich on weekends; they shut down that part of the menu then.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
They’ve always overloaded the pies here. Even a plain cheese pizza (which is not really very plain) has so much cheese that it’s conceivable that single slice might work for a light supper.
FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.
- Dining Environment
- Consistency +1
- Value +2
- Attitude +1
- Wine & Bar +1
- Hipness +1
- Local Color +1
- Open all afternoon
- Quick, good meal
- Good for children
- Easy, nearby parking