Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Black Iron Pizza Food Review

Craft Your Own Pizza

Build your own Pizza is fast replacing burgers as the "it" fast food in the nation's capital. There's (in no particular order) &Pizza, Blaze PizzaCustom Fuel, DC Pizza, Pie Five Pizza, Pizza Studio (coming soon) and now Black Iron Pizza. A few too many if you ask me, but the latter could be one of the best... at least after one visit. If nothing else, they win the award for Best Name (by a mile.)

Black Iron Pizza definitely slipped under my radar (no contact prior to, or after their opening earlier this month) and I literally fell upon it tonight. Lucky for me, I was hungry at the time; so I popped in for a quick pie and a soda. It's deceivingly spacious (a long row of window seating in the front and back, as well as a roomy dining room closer to 13th Street.) It's also technically on E Street, NW (between 12th & 13th Streets) as opposed to its listed address on Pennsylvania Avenue.

I placed an order with super-friendly cashier Tierra, who guided me through the sorta-complicated selection process. It's not done via assembly line (a la Subway) so you need to pick everything at once. Choose a crust, sauce and toppings; and expect plenty o'choices. Calzones and salads are available too; but I'm all about the pizza, particularly on my first visit.

Base pies cost $7 but climb, depending on what you get on it. I opted for a Traditional White '00 crust with San Marzano Tomato Sauce, Fresh Mozzarella, Spicy Pork Sausage, Roasted Onions and Roasted Red Peppers (Black Iron Pizza recommends five toppings or less, and I agree: Less is more.) It's supposed to take two minutes to cook in the Black Iron Oven; but don't forget, they have to assemble it, and I imagine the oven can only fit so many pies at a time. My pizza was ready in about 10 minutes. Presentation was great, and I was offered fresh Parmigiano Reggiano (which I passed on.)

Great chairs!

I filled my regular fountain drink (Fanta Zero Fruit Punch, only $1.98) at their Freestyle machine, and took a seat in the back (facing the inside of the Warner Building.) Great view! Very unique. The stools don't move, but they're plenty comfortable. Napkin dispensers are all-around (ditto for red pepper flakes) and the counter provides plenty of room.

As for the pizza, it's close to perfect. First, the negatives: It needed salt, and the toppings proved too heavy for the crust to support... collapsing is inevitable, as were the half-dozen napkins I wound up using along the way. Other than that, what's not to love? It's plenty big, and could probably feed two (if necessary.) The tomato sauce was applied generously, and was vibrantly colored (orange-red.) Fresh mozzarella is always better, and there was lots of it. To be fair, the spicy pork sausage wasn't very spicy, but still tasted great (nice, thick slices.) You couldn't ask for better roasted onions and red peppers; but looking back, I wish I had remembered to add a few leaves of fresh basil... Next time, I promise.

The crust is sublime (nice and charred) but a tiny bit chewy in spots. Considering their low price and quick turnaround, I could easily see myself coming here once a week (g'bye Ollie's Trolley, perhaps forever.) As far as who's best, it's a toss up between &Pizza, Black Iron and Blaze. Black Iron trails slightly in taste, but nudges ahead in customer service (Tierra was terrific, and also asked me how my pizza was afterwards.) Bathrooms are individual (score) and huge (with cool fixtures) but one of them had a very wet floor (I'm guessing it had just been cleaned.) The rest of the restaurant was close to immaculate.

Cool name. Friendly service. Great pizza. Sold.