One visit. One meal. One shot to get it right
Pie Five Pizza Co.
When you put a number in your company name, and that number represents how long it’ll take you to get your meal… well, that’s pretty much the textbook definition of “fast food.”
Which is not a criticism. When you have a deadline, it’s nice to know the prep-time for your meal is limited. Which is what the new local pizza chain Pie Five promises: Your personal pizza in about five minutes. How do they guarantee that? Because, sort of like Krispy Kreme, you get to watch it being made.
A friend of mine scoffs at the concept. Speed, he says, does not equate with quality. On the other hand, the two aren’t inherent enemies, and I kinda like the control I have over my meal.
Pie Five has a set-list of their signature hits: Deep-dish meat-lovers’ or thin-crust vegan, etc. It’s nice to see what the chef recommends. But pizza, perhaps more than any other dish, is an idiosyncratic dining experience: If you’re a New York-style fan, you probably can’t be convinced to swap loyalties and become a Chicago- or Sicilian-style lover. People who would hesitate to tell the chef at a steakhouse how long to cook a filet and when to turn it and what compote to serve with it have no problem asking for half chicken, half peppers. Most great pizzas are the ones you compose.
That’s what I suggest at Pie Five, where the options are impressively diverse. I grabbed a thin-crust (thick is also available) with the diavolo base sauce, a spicier version of the marinara. Then I went to town on the meats: Pepperoni, hamburger, pulled pork, bacon. Slather on the veggie toppings: Jalapenos, black olives, artichoke hearts. Throw on some cheddar at the end — why not? It then gets placed in a fancy version of the Easy-Bake Oven, emerging a few minutes later on the other side, where you can add “magic dust” (seems like a garlic powder blend) and/or crushed red pepper. I took both: I want to see how spicy my pizza can get.
The answer is: Pretty damn spicy. They don’t blink when you ask for “more of this” or that “keep goin’ on the jalapenos.” It’s your funeral — or rather, your pizza. I like that.
The taste paid off. Maybe part of that is pride in ownership, but the crust was crisp, the ingredients fresh and potent, the combination flavorful. I got exactly what I wanted, quickly and pleasantly, and for about $10 including drink.
The service has some errors. I asked for pulled but got pork sausage first; I had to repeat my order about magic dust. But the folks were nice, the place clean and the meal warm and filling on a rainy weekday. And with their punny T-shirt logos (“Pie-curious” is my favorite), you feel right at home here.
Overall impression: A filling, 9-in. pizza made to order: What more do you want?
— Arnold Wayne Jones
QUICK LOOK: BOLSA
I have to confess, I have never been as bowled over by Bolsa, the Oak Cliff locavore-loving hang, as much as my foodie friends have. Some of them confess it’s nice to have a good place in the hood, and they have their faves while conceding service can be an ordeal. But maybe I was going at the wrong time of day.
Maybe it’s not lunch or dinner I should have been scoping out, but brunch.
That certainly was the case on a recent visit, where the meal met — even exceeded — Bolsa’s reputation.
An artisanal apple-chestnut soup packed all the colors of autumn in one bowl, and the pork belly over mustard greens were sublimely flavorful. But the star was a thick-cut but impossibly airy corn-flake-breaded French toast, pictured, that was unqualifiedly the best I’ve ever had in Dallas. Hmmmm… Bolsa may have won over a new fan. Finally.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 16, 2011.