Monday, May 30, 2016

SpinFire Custom Pizza & Salads Food Review

Create Your Own Pizza with Fennel & Sriracha Sausage

There's fast, and then there's super-fast. SpinFire Custom Pizza & Salads serves the latter... made-to-order individual pizzas, calzones and gourmet salads, delivered straight to your table in a mere minute and a half (give or take a few seconds.) It's hands down, the fastest pie in the DMV, and based on looks alone... mouth-watering and delicious. Unfortunately, my first visit featured plenty of "spin" but hardly any "fire." To its credit, the SpinFire experience still rates positive, thanks to superior (and friendly) customer service and a takeaway counter, second to none.

The staff at the Rosslyn upstart went above and beyond to make me feel right at home. This included multiple greetings (from both ends of the front counter) and some of the fastest & most efficient service I've ever encountered. Considering how many times I dine out (especially at fast casual restaurants) that's quite an accomplishment.

SpinFire is spotlessly clean, and I particularly liked the marble tables inside. It's also easy to order (clear menu boards) although I didn't know they served barbecue & buffalo chicken wings until after I sat down at my table, and saw the sign. Given SpinFire's speedy service, that didn't leave any time to go back and order an appetizer (desert anyone?) Music overhead was hip and upbeat... Chris Brown, Rihanna and J Sutta, and played at a nice, unobtrusive volume. A- for atmosphere.

Even better, SpinFire's takeaway counter, which featured neat stacks of carryout containers, plates and even bags (with handles!) Note to all fast casual establishments: Copy this, immediately! Pure genius.

Up to that point, everything was coming up roses. Then the pizza arrived (courtesy of another chipper, smiling employee.) It looked gorgeous. Visible char with two types of sausage (fennel & sriracha) fresh mozzarella (not shredded) red onions, roasted red peppers & tomatoes, atop a classic red sauce. Big too (10") but hard to handle (very flimsy.) My first slice fell apart before I managed a single bite. Normally, I'd blame it on a wealth of toppings, but there wasn't that many to cause a literal avalanche of meat & veggies. Sadly, this wasn't the only negative. The entire pie (toppings and all) was cold... almost ice cold. This, despite the aforementioned visible char on the top and bottom of the pizza. I can only assume it wasn't cooked long enough, begging the question, "Is 90 seconds enough time to produce a hot pizza?" To be fair, it was early (only 20 minutes after opening.) Perhaps the oven wasn't fully heated yet.

Looking back, I should have said something to the manager, when he circled the room a few minutes later; but I didn't have the heart to mention it. Besides, how often does someone stop by each and every table at a fast casual pizzeria, to see how you're doing? Odds are, he would have rectified the situation with a replacement pie; but even half of a cold pizza can make you pretty full, especially at 11:30 in the morning.

I have a clear plan of attack for my second visit... Wings to start, followed by a second trip to the counter for my pizza. Rest assured, if it's not piping hot, I'll take it back and ask for another minute (or so) in the fire. SpinFire has the potential to be a serious player in an area desperate for tasty, fast casual pizza. Fingers crossed for a fiery second review.

Atmosphere: A- (Bright & clean, with a killer takeaway station.)
Crust: D (Flimsy to a fault, messy.)
Toppings: D (Toppings looked great, but ice cold = disaster.)
Service: A (Terrific. Absolutely terrific.)
Value: B ($8.99 for a 10" pie with up to four toppings. Only $6.99 for cheese + 1 topping.)
Overall: C+ (It's hard impossible to overlook cold pizza, even with SpinFire's many other pluses. I'm betting my next visit will be much better.)