Friday, 1 June 2012

THE BEST KIND OF WAR?............PIZZA WAR!

PIZZA WAR, that is exactly what is happening in our little yet ever growing enclave of Westboro, Hintonburg in one of Ottawa's newer foodie and overall desired destinations.

The good thing about food-gentrification is that the locals are often willing guinea pigs for trendy pop ups offering new and improved delicacies previously found only in the form of hidden gems discovered off the grid and only known to a protective and secretive few.  Now I'm wondering if that is a good thing, I'm not so sure? 

This phenomenon has hit this Ottawa hood with the fury of a tsunami in the form of wood oven baked dough and toppings perfuming the air of the streets with a scent of hickory and maple, far more welcome than the greasy stench of KFC.

This Friday night I decided upon Anthony's on Wellington. Anthony's on Wellington is just one of 4 new pizza-centric places to emerge in the past year or so in a relatively small geographic area and that is not Little Italy. The Back Lane Café, Tennessee Willems and the soon to open Pizza al Forno (not the confirmed name) by the Fratelli's restaurant group make up the contenders.

  The restaurant so named after its owner is a former pawn shop and with the exception of the removal of some security partitions, half empty glass display cases and the sickly smell of juvenile entrepreneurial spirit, not much has changed.  The restaurant is devoid of any interior design concept, paint scheme or ambiance.  The kitchen is open to the dining area, a giant TV sits on the bar, not turned on, walls are freshly painted and tables and chairs slightly above cafeteria comfort level.  The bar, where I sat to order my opted take out was uncleaned and sticky.  

The restaurant was quite busy, mostly with families as this is hardly a destination for a romantic date night or even a fun place to go hang with the guys or girls.  The staff seemed friendly but overwhelmed as during my 20 minutes or so waiting nobody addressed my actual presence focusing their efforts on the tables and getting the food out.

I ordered from the simple menu, yes really simple. The 14 or so pizza's had mostly two or three items and featured nothing that was boasting "fresh local, organic farmed" or otherwise trendy catch phrases and foodie type terms.

OK, so I am good with that. I am not as some might suspect a doofus, foodie douche only liking the newest, now-est and hippest. I like, no actually prefer the simple call it what it is straight up stuff.  After all it is just pizza.

Here's what I ordered on my pie, spicy soppressata, tomato sauce and fiore di latte.  Throw in the smoke and crisp crust on what the menu calls a Divola.

How was it?  Good, really good.  It is exactly what I expected from a simple unadorned place with a simple unadorned menu.  The sauce was sweet, non acidic, not over-powered with dried herbs and garlic, not watery or too dry.  The meat, spicy, fatty and not dried out by excessive oven heat and the cheese was the same, creamy, hot and runny.  Oh and the most important thing was the crust, it was perfectly charred on top and bottom, crunchy, not flabby or soggy, (official pizza crust terminology for those in the know). 

The verdict, this was a darn good pizza and I will go back and recommend Anthony's to anyone in the area looking for a good pizza.  However, I know that unless the overall in house dining experience is thought out my option will be for take away only.  But still, I'm OK with that.

Anthony's is located at 1218 Wellington St. 613 695 8669

Well done or as the menu says, "Done Well" crust and toppings, the pizza alone is the hi-light of Anthony's on Wellington.

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