As I sit down to dig into my Caterpillar role from hot Woks Cool Sushi [ed: not a pizza restaurant], it is surprisingly easy to recall last week’s pie. The Doc and I have said before that, to the extent that this is a review blog, we’re not about writing mean spirited things. We are far from experts in pizza (we actually have no idea what we’re doing), but we love the thing we’re writing about (which, come to think of it, puts us at the level of most critics). So we’re of the opinion that even bad pizza is worth it (maybe with the exception of bad corporate pizza, which we hope to get to some time. We’re considering doing one week where we just do a slice a day from each of the crappy corporate chains. More on that when we do it). But Coalfire pizza is not bad pizza. It’s not even good pizza.
It’s fantastic pizza.
Since the demise of Great Lake Pizza up in Andersonville, this is about as close as you’re gonna get to no-nonsense pizza. The menu is almost comically sparse. No substitutes, one credit card per table. They’re not messing around here people.
The doc’s in charge of the veggies, so I got a Margherita with ‘Nduja. ‘Nduja can best be described as a meaty, Calabrian spread (insert joke here). Like most poor cultures, Calabrians are experts at making delicious food from the most disgusting parts of the animal. Belly, shoulder, nose, probably taint. Who knows? But the result is heavenly. Kind of like Chicken McNuggets without the pink slime. You know, actual food. But I’ve never had a pizza whose main topping is a spread.
Having experimented with making a chocolate chip pizza in high school (with predictable results), had I known what ‘Nduja was, I might not have tried it. But each slice had a little crater of delicious ‘Nduja baked right into it in an almost perfect circle. It was kind of incredible. Despite the fact that the pizza came to us in under 10 minutes (the ovens get to 800 degrees, the waitress explained to us. That’s like Venus-levels of hot.), and everything kind of slid around on each slice, the little quasi-perfect circle of ‘Nduja stayed intact.
As their name suggests, Coalfire pizza relies on their coalfire oven, which is why they can get it as so hot so quick. They can make a pizza in 90 seconds.
Suck on that, DiGiorno’s.
But seriously, the coalfire oven has got to be a feature in luxury condos of the future. This was one of the most delicious pizzas I’ve ever tasted. A little on the expensive side for a pizza (The menu says each pizza feeds 2 people, but I had absolutely no problems finishing mine), but worth every penny.
Coalfire also shares the honor with last week’s “Farina” of being in Time Out NY’s “best Pizza Places in America. The other Chicago entry, Pequod, will be sampled tomorrow.
Go to Coalfire. Now.