Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Quest for Good Pizza in Dallas Begins

Shortly after I moved to Dallas, I had lunch with a friend from New York City who basically told me I shouldn't bother eating the pizza here.  Knowing plenty of New Yorkers who would say you can't find a good slice of pizza west of the George Washington Bridge, I certainly took what he said with a grain of salt. I lived in New York for a few years and visited plenty.  I have also had plenty of pizza there, everything from a 3am slice to soak up alcohol to a dimly lit romantic Italian restaurant.   As someone from DC, I will readily admit the pizza around DC (or Boston or Philadelphia for that matter) can't touch the pizza in New York.
     At lunch, one of my friend's co-workers suggested Coal Vines, which he seemed to grudgingly grant was edible.   I thought I would begin my quest for good pizza in Dallas there.  I went to the new location in Plano, in the Legacy Town Center.  Given the fact that it opened fairly recently (in April), and it was a Friday night, it was pretty crowded when we arrived. There was a 30-minute wait for a party of two.  Thankfully we were able a swoop in and grab a seat at the bar.   The place is pretty dark, with exposed brick, and walls of black shelves full of bottles of wine.  Near the bar there was a larger than life black and white print of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin; they had the music to match.   I'm definitely no wine connoisseur, but they certainly had an impressive wine menu I had the Banfi Chianti Classico, which was flavorful and smooth.  The meal started with the bruschetta, which came with oven-roasted tomatoes and goat cheese on half the pieces and fresh mozzarella and basil on the other.  Both were very good. Flavors were on point, generous amount of olive oil, but certainly not greasy by any means, bread was fresh with the great balance of crispy without feeling like you're biting into a piece of bark and soft in the middle.
     But now the heart of the matter, because let’s face it, what really matters at a pizza joint isn’t the wine or bruschetta.  We got a half Bolognese and half regular pie.  First, the pizza came out barely room temperature.  It seemed like it had been sitting out for a while.  By the time I bit into a third slice, it was down right cold.  I’ve experienced the service being a bit off at new restaurants, and it was a busy Friday; but they have been open since the spring and one would think that since it was busy, food would come out fast and hot rather than cold.  I also noticed that the couple seated next to us ordered soup, and it arrived the same time as their pizza (the bartender did offer them a dessert to make up for it for them, no such luck for us).  As far as taste, the pizza was very good.  The crust was soft inside with a little crispness on the outside.  The Bolognese half with tomato sauce, mozzarella, Bolognese meat and B├ęchamel sauce was very flavorful, not heavy or oily.  The regular half with Coal Vines tomato sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan was also quite good. I certainly have no complaints 

about the taste of the pizza; I just wish it would have come out hot.
    I’m not ready to concede that great pizza can be found in Dallas, but it’s certainly enough to keep me looking.

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