Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Adventure #47: Tony C's Coal Fired Pizza

Yes, you noticed right and it wasn't on accident.  We skipped a number.  There is an adventure that has been lost to the void that we call "life".  One day we'll return to that place and give it the proper accounting that it deserves, but for right now we've moved on and in the interest of not letting this pizza fall into that void I present to you our experience with Tony C's Coal Fired Pizza in Bee Caves.

First, I feel it warrants mention that this place has the exact opposite feel of a cozy mom-and-pop pizzeria.  It's in the Hill Country Galleria and is therefore surrounded by upscale (to me) shops.  I always feel a little out of place in places like this.  It has a new, dark, clean, and cold aesthetic, like a place that is just itching to be translated into a chain-restaurant.  I'm not saying this is a terrible thing (chain-restaurants are popular for a reason), just that it has a decidedly suburban feel rather than an Austin feel.  Adding to that is that there are no local beers on tab (except Fireman's 4 which seems to be lots of restaurants' tip-o-the-hat to Texas breweries).

The pizza though, was good (we waffled on calling it great but decided that the whole did not transcend the parts to create an exceptional pizza experience).  We got "The Donato" which comes with sausage, pizza sauce, coal fired peppers, black olives, and fresh mozzarella.

The sausage and mozzarella on this pie really were what stood out for me.  The sausage is sliced rather than crumbled and was very flavorful.  The mozzarella (as you can see above) was slices (I imagine that the large coverage is obtained through putting it on in slices) instead of the shredded (or mixed cheese) variety that is employed in most restaurants.

The crust was good, but not great.  It was crisp where it needed to be and just a bit chewy on the ends.  I was expecting more coal flavor (I've gotten used to a little char while working for a place with a wood fired oven) and was looking forward to tasting it, but it never came.  The most coal flavor came from the coal fired peppers, which were a nice addition to the pizza.  I've heard (i.e. read) rumor that lots of coal oven pizzerias that aren't on the east coast tone down the char because us Midwesterners/Westerners can't handle it.  I hope that's not the case, but if it is I am disappointed.

The black olives neither added nor detracted to the pizza, which is a shame because I think this came close to being really great, it just needed something to push it over the edge.

Overall, I don't know that it is worth the drive out to Bee Caves, but if you're in the neighborhood it certainly is good pizza.


P.S.  Don't bother with the bacon wrapped figs as an appetizer.  They were ok, but the flavors didn't balance right and the flavor of the gorgonzola stuffed inside the figs was completely lost to the overly sweet honey/vinaigrette liberally "drizzled" on top.  If I'm going to pay $9 for 4 bacon wrapped figs stuffed with gorgonzola and drizzled with honey and vinaigrette, they better be Amazing.

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