Back Road Pizza

Discussing pizza, a dish that’s the sum of its parts, is most always an exercise in deconstruction. Crust, sauce, toppings: What makes certain pizzas stand out? If you had to choose the best part of a pie at Back Road Pizza — a not-so-hard-to-find place in a strip of steel-building commercial spaces off Second Street just west of the Rail Runner tracks — it would be the crust. Back Road’s is so remarkable that it can detract from the other components. It’s definitely of the thin school, yet it has a bit of chew, and its flavor is wheaty and slightly sweet, nothing like the soda-cracker taste so many thin crusts sport. It has a crisp texture without being brittle, and it offers a touch of crunch from the cornmeal that’s incorporated into the dough. That cornmeal also contributes to the crust’s satisfying flavor, as does the New Mexico-grown wheat flour that gives it its spring. Take your friends who favor thick, chewy, deep-dish styles (or visitors from Chicago). Back Road might change their worldview.

The crust rules, but the other components are pretty good, too. The sauce, heavy on tomato flavor and slightly acidic, is rich, thick, and spread thinly over that delectable base. Toppings — including sausage made in-house and meatballs made from New Mexico-raised beef and pork — are also decent, right down to the artichoke hearts.

Each of the pizzas we sampled — from a special with green chile, roasted chicken, mushrooms, and feta cheese to a traditional pie with sausage, onions, and mushrooms — was carefully constructed, attentively baked, and served immediately. A Greek pie was the perfect mix of concentrated sun-dried-tomato flavor, briny kalamata olives, thin slices of artichoke heart, and wonderful crumbled feta.